Al Mezan Center for Human Rights condemns the recent decision by the Palestinian Authority to withhold salaries of former detainees freed from Israeli prisons. Al Mezan stresses that such measures will exacerbate the harsh humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, and calls on the authorities to respect Palestinian laws, and to cease with all measures that might further deteriorate the already difficult humanitarian conditions.
Based on Al Mezan’s field investigations, 277 ex-detainees residing in Gaza and the West Bank went to their banks to receive their monthly salaries, but were surprised to find out that their May salaries had been suspended. The Palestinian Authority did not release any statement prior to taking the measure.
The Palestinian law provides a set of rights and legal safeguards for ex-detainees freed from Israeli prisons, therewith guaranteeing a dignified life for their families, as the years of imprisonment are likely to impede their chances of securing sources of livelihood. Their rights under the Palestinian law include, inter alia, a monthly salary, and the recent decision by the Ministry of Finance to withhold those monthly payments is in direct contravention of the 2004 Detainees and Ex-Detainees Law No. 19. The Article 3, as amended in 2013, stipulates: “To fulfil the objectives of this law, the Palestinian National Authority shall, through all available means, work towards … providing financial rights to the detainee and his/her family,” and the Article 7: “The National Authority shall pay every detainee a monthly salary set by the statue and depending upon the cost of living” (unofficial translation by Al Mezan).
Al Mezan denounces the policy of arbitrary salary cuts and calls on the Palestinian national consensus government to respect the provisions of the law and immediately pay out the due amounts. Al Mezan calls on all concerned parties to work towards ending the political divide, and to unify efforts to rebuild a political system that adheres to human rights principles, as well as to the principle of separation of powers.