dinsdag 8 december 2009

Hamas regering in Gaza hindert vertrek patienten voor behandeling

Wanneer besteden het journaal, de NRC, de Volkskrant etc. eens aandacht aan de Palestijnse reisrestricties? Op 7 december hebben grenswachten bij een Palestijns checkpoint bij Rafah 35 patienten teruggestuurd die naar ziekenhuizen op de Westoever of Israel wilden reizen voor behandeling. Deze mensen liggen nu in Gaza weg te kwijnen omdat zij de noodzakelijke behandelingen daar niet kunnen krijgen. Met dank aan Hamas dat ze niet wilde laten gaan omdat ze de juiste papieren misten. Waar blijft de verontwaardiging van de mensenrechtenactivisten en Palestina sympathisanten? En, terwijl (zogenaamde) Palestijnse patienten zich in Israel hebben geprobeerd op te blazen of explosieven probeerden te smokkelen, wat is voor Hamas het gevaar, mocht iemand om oneigenlijke redenen de grens over willen? Als Hamas zelf de grenzen gesloten houdt voor nota bene zieken, is het een beetje vreemd dat het Israel bekritiseert voor de 'blokkade' van Gaza.
PCHR - Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
Press Release

Ref: 123/2009
Date: 07 December 2009
Time: 12:00 GMT

Ministry of Interior's Decision, Palestinian Police Obstruct of Travel of Patients Receive Medical Treatment in Hospitals outside Gaza;
PCHR Calls on Gaza Government to Immediately Cancel Such Measures

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns external travel restrictions imposed on the population of the Gaza Strip. These restrictions also apply to patients seeking medical treatment unavailable in the Gaza Strip.  PCHR calls upon the Government in Gaza to remove all travel restrictions imposed, in particular the obligation to obtain permission from the Ministry of Interior in Gaza; these obligations contradict the provisions of the Palestinian Basic Law and international standards related to the freedom of movement.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR, on Monday morning, 07 December 2009, the Palestinian police stationed at the Customs Checkpoint near Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing prevented 37 patients and their companions from heading towards the crossing to travel to hospitals in the West Bank, including Jerusalem, and Israel.  The police claimed that these patients did not obtain exit permits from the Office of Traveling Registration in the Ministry of Interior.  According to a number of these patients, they were forced to travel back to the governmental complex to apply for permission, where they were forced to wait for more than three hours.  A number of these patients are scheduled for surgery in Palestinian or Israeli hospitals today, these measures have obstructed their travel to hospital, raising concerns regarding their health.

On 25 November 2009, the Ministry of Interior declared the opening of an office for the registration of travelers in Abu Khadra governmental complex in Gaza City.  The Ministry requested each individual in the Gaza Strip wishing to travel abroad to refer to that office to obtain permission three days prior to the time of travel.  The application form for such permission is divided into three sections: personal information; destination and purpose of travel and companions; and a pledge that needs signatures.  In additional, two personal photographs, photocopies of the identity card and the passport, photocopies of documents that explain the purpose of travel and a photocopy of the permit obtained from the other side (Israel) must be annexed to the application form.  The originals of all of those documents must be brought to the office to confirm they are true copies.

These restrictive measures are imposed as the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip suffer from the impacts of the total ban imposed by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on their travel outside the Gaza Strip since 25 June 2006, when IOF tightened the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip.  Under this closure regime, the majority of the Palestinian civilian population have been prevented from traveling outside the Gaza Strip through Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing, excluding a very limited number of patients and traders.  In addition, dozens of patients have been enduring the complications of obtaining permission to receive medical treatment in Palestinian and/or Israeli hospitals, and many of them have been prevented from traveling even though they have permits and others have had to wait for long hours and even days.  It is worth noting that the issuance of permits by IOF for patients is often declared late at night, and patients are instructed to travel to Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing on the following morning, which makes it impossible to meet the condition to obtain travel permission from the Ministry of Interior in Gaza.

PCHR follows up with utmost concern the restrictions and hindrances imposed by the Ministry of Interior, which limit the travel of the Gaza population abroad.  PCHR believes that such measures violate the right of each Palestinian to freedom of movement, including traveling outside the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) controlled areas; in particular, they violate Article 9 of the Palestinian Basic Law, which calls for equality before the judiciary and the law.  They also prejudice the right to freedom of movement and residence of the population, both their freedom to travel within their territory and from and back to their territory whenever they wish.  Additionally, such illegal measures violate international human rights standards, including Article 12 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the PNA has declared its commitment to.  PCHR is concerned that such measures may lead to violations of Palestinian civilians' right to have maximum adequate physical and mental care.

PCHR strongly condemns the measures imposed by the Government in Gaza, which restrict the freedom of movement of the population of the Gaza Strip, and calls upon the Palestinian Government in the Gaza Strip to:

1)      Nullify the requirement to obtain permission for traveling from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank and/or abroad from the Office of Traveling Registration in the Ministry of Interior, as it constitutes a violation of their right to freedom of movement.
2)      Take all necessary measures to facilitate the travel of patients from the Gaza Strip, especially to Palestinian hospitals in the West Bank, including Jerusalem, or Israeli hospitals; all documents held by patients are official ones that are issued by the External Medical Treatment Department in accordance with accredited procedures that include signatures of specialized doctors, the Higher Committee for External Medical Treatment and the Service Purchase Department in the Ministry of Health.

Public Document
For more information please call PCHR office in Gaza, Gaza Strip, on +972 8 2824776 - 2825893
PCHR, 29 Omer El Mukhtar St., El Remal, PO Box 1328 Gaza, Gaza Strip.
pchr@pchrgaza.org, Webpage http://www.pchrgaza.org
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