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AI Index:        MDE 15/040/2003    (Public)
News Service No:         117
9 May 2003

Israel/Occupied Territories: Amnesty International
delegates denied access to Gaza

Amnesty International today condemned the Israeli
authorities' decision requiring foreigners entering
Gaza to sign "waivers"  that absolve Israel from
responsibility should they be killed or injured.

"The organization is categorically opposed to any
attempt to get people to sign away their rights,"
Amnesty International said. "The signing of 'waivers'
does not absolve the Israeli army of its
responsibility in any way, nor the Israeli authorities
of their duties to ensure that armed froces respect
human rights in all circumstances."

The organization is concerned that one aim of these
new and drastic restrictions is to prevent outside
monitoring and scrutiny of the conduct of the Israeli
army. It is also concerned that these restrictions
will lead to more killings in Gaza and calls on the
army to immediately end the use of excessive and
unlawful force.

Amnesty International's delegates were denied access
to Gaza today. They were required to sign the
"waivers" which they refused to do. The organization
has repeatedly demanded that international human
rights monitors be deployed in Israel and the Occupied
Territories to ensure that international standards are
abided by.

"We condemn all unlawful killings of civilians,
including children, in Israel and the Occupied
Territories, whether committed by members of the
Israeli army or members of armed Palestinian groups,"
Amnesty International said.

The declaration to be signed states, among other
things, that the individual "accept(s) that the
government of the state of Israel and its organs
cannot be held responsible for death, injury and/or
damage/loss of property which may be incurred as a
result of military activity".

For more information please call Amnesty
International's press office in London, UK, on +44 20
7413 5566

Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW.

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