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Gaza: ICRC facilitates first family visits for five years

16-07-2012 News Release 12/148

Geneva/Jerusalem (ICRC) – On Monday 16 July, families from Gaza will be able to visit their relatives in Israeli jails for the first time since June 2007. In all, 40 wives, mothers and fathers will see their relatives face to face again, with the help of the International Committee of the Red Cross, which is facilitating the trip from Gaza to Ramon Prison.

The Israeli authorities suspended all visits to detainees by residents of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, a measure that affected over 800 detainees.

"This is a first step and we hope that visits by residents of Gaza will resume in full," said Juan Pedro Schaerer, the head of the ICRC delegation in Israel and the occupied territories. "Wehave repeatedly called for the resumption of family visits, which are a lifeline for detainees and their families. Under international humanitarian law, Israeli authorities have an obligationto allow the detainees to receive family visits."

A total of 554 men whose families are from the Gaza Strip are still detained in Israeli prisons. The ICRC has been facilitating these family visits since 1968. During the suspension of visits,ICRC delegates facilitated the exchange of thousands of Red Cross messages and oral greetings between the detainees and their families.

For further information, please contact:
Noora Kero, ICRC Jerusalem, tel: +972 52 601 91 50
Nadia Dibsy, ICRC Jerusalem, tel: +972 52 601 91 48
Ayman Alshehabi, ICRC Gaza, tel: +972 59 960 30 15
Ran Goldstein, ICRC Tel Aviv, tel: +972 52 27 57 517
Alexis Heeb, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 37 72 or +41 79 21 73 206