Red Cross to reduce family visits to Palestinian prisoners

Red Cross to reduce family visits to Palestinian prisoners
A decision by the Red Cross to reduce family visits to Palestinian prisoners down to once a month has drawn angry reactions from Palestinians
2 min read
16 June, 2016
Prisoners in Israeli jails are now only able to see families once a week [Getty]
Palestinian prisoners have rejected a recent decision made by the International Red Cross to reduce the number of family visits made to prisoners from twice to once a month.

"The prisoners' national movement rejects the Red Cross’s decision, and considers it a step back for the rights and achievements of Palestinian prisoners" the Palestinian Prisoners Association said in a statement, adding that they "paid a heavy price during the course of their struggle against the occupation."

The prisoners stressed that the decision was "completely consistent" with Israel’s polices that aimed at further restricting prisoners and their families with measures such as refusing to issue permits.

Palestinian prisoners said that the justifications the Red Cross made for its decision were "flimsy" and could only be explained by the organisation giving up on its humanitarian responsibilities to Palestinians in general, especially towards prisoners and their families. 

"The action was taken as a result of the reduction in the budget," read a statement from the Red Cross, commenting on the cost of buses to transport families to and from prisons in Israel.

Palestinian critics pointed out that this change in policy would make it easier for the occupation to continue its oppressive practices towards Palestinian prisoners and damaged the "credibility and reputation" of the Red Cross. 

The Prisoners Association called on the Red Cross to re-consider their decision and seek other legal means to improve family visits. 

Since the decision was taken earlier this month there has been many angry reactions on the Palestinian street.  The reduction in visits is due to start in July next year.