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US Episcopal Church adopts human rights resolutions for Palestine

Church plans to institute human rights screening of companies in Israel and Palestine
US Episcopal Church is 10th denomination to adopt resolutions promoting rights of Palestinians (AFP)

The Episcopal Church in the United States has approved a resolution that will establish human rights screening of companies in Israel and Palestine.

The resolution is intended to set up a screen so that companies can be screened according to activities and human rights violations, Episcopal Peace Fellowship/Palestine-Israel Network (EPF-PIN) media spokesman Harry Gunkel told Middle East Eye.

Gunkel stressed that the resolution is not part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign. He said that it simply sets up a framework to make sure that companies working with the Episcopal Church have adhered to international human rights standards.

The church's general convention took place on Friday in Austin, Texas, where the church’s two decision-making chambers – the House of Bishops and the House of Delegates – voted on 15 resolutions regarding the Israel/Palestine conflict.

Six of them, including a resolution that calls "on Israel to safeguard the rights of Palestinian children in Israel's military detention system" passed, according to an Epsicopal News Service report.

"We need to really stand with Palestinians at this point," said Virginia Bishop Associate Robert Ihloff. "It is not an even playing field."

That resolution will require the church’s government affairs department make contact with Israel and the Palestinian Authority and try to persuade them to adopt international norms when it comes to arresting children.

"It specifically spoke to assuring that care be taken to avoid military justice systems, to avoid night-time arrests, detainment, detaining without charges, detaining the child to Israel where the parents cannot go, using Hebrew in interrogations and written documents in Hebrew which the child does not understand and to avoid what has been reported as physical abuse," Gunkel said.

The US Episcopal Church is now the 10th denomination to adopt resolutions promoting the rights of Palestinians, in addition to the Presbyterian Church and United Church of Christ.

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