ICRC Visits for Gilad Shalit
I have read with interest paragraph 77 of the Goldstone Commission Report which states that Gilad Shalit meets the requirement for prisoner-of-war status under the Third Geneva Convention, that he should be treated humanely and allowed external communication as appropriate according to that Convention, and that the ICRC should be allowed to visit him without delay and to exchange news with his family. I also note that almost four years have elapsed since he was kidnapped in Israel by Hamas, who, according to documents produced by Amnesty International, are using him to create political pressure and as a bargaining chip. The Hamas response suggests that the sole reason for the refusal to allow ICRC visits is that it would put Gilad Shalit's life at risk from attack by the Israeli army. This is not a credible justification. The ICRC is universally respected for the role it plays in protecting people deprived of their liberty and has acted professionally and with discretion while visiting Israeli and Palestinians held in Israel. There is no reason to believe that the ICRC would now compromise its neutrality or endanger Gilad Shalit. I therefore call on the UN Human Rights Commission to demand of the de facto administration in Gaza that the ICRC has immediate access to Gilad Shalit and that he be allowed to exchange news with his family.