WBG Demands Urgent Release of Leigh-Ann Naidoo
Yesterday evening the Women’s Boat to Gaza (WBG) mission was commandeered in international waters in violation of Maritime Law. Their boat the Zaytouna-Oliva was redirected to the port of Ashdod in Israel by special forces of the Israeli Navy. The 13 women activists aboard from more than 10 countries were on a humanitarian, mission to bring a message of hope and solidarity to the besieged Gaza Strip.
The women were subsequently captured and are being detained at Givon Prison in Ramleh. To date the members of the media have been released, and other European and American participants have received consular access or assistance from their respective governments and will soon be returning home.
The South African WBG committee notes with great concern that by virtue of the fact that Leigh-Ann is an African despite her imminent profile as an Olympian and an activist the South African embassy in Israel is yet to be notified by the Israeli government of Leigh-Ann’s arrest and subsequent detention and have yet to allow her consular access in total violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Affairs.
The perception that has been created is that the Israeli apartheid government is not allowing South Africa the same level of consular accesses as its European and American counterparts. This must be remedied with immediate effect.
We demand immediate access for the South African embassy and implore DIRCO and the South African embassy in Tel Aviv to expedite the safe return of Leigh-Ann to South African shores.
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Women’s Boat To Gaza