Retired city priest set for Palestine visit

HUMAN RIGHTS Recently retired Anglican priest Giles Harris-Evans. Picture: Sarah Standing (132130-5562)
HUMAN RIGHTS Recently retired Anglican priest Giles Harris-Evans. Picture: Sarah Standing (132130-5562)
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A PRIEST is heading to Palestine as part of his service to the church.

Father Giles Harris-Evans recently retired from his position as priest at St Mary’s Church in Fratton.

But Father Giles, from Great Southsea Street, Southsea, will have little time to relax before he heads to Palestine on August 16.

He will be going to occupied Palestinian territories and Israel for three months to be a human rights observer.

Four other people from Britain and Ireland will be accompanying him.

They will then be joined by another 30 others from countries around the world.

Father Giles said: ‘A major part of my work will be monitoring checkpoints on the separation barrier.

‘I will be recording what happens and upholding human rights.

‘I will also be keeping the United Nations, International Red Cross and Israeli human rights groups informed with what is happening on a day-to-day basis.

‘We operate within a framework of principled impartially.

‘This means that we don’t discriminate on the grounds of race or creed.

‘But that doesn’t mean that we are not impartial in relation to human rights abuse.

‘When this occurs, we will inform all the relevant authorities.

‘There can be considerable tension between Palestinians whose land has been taken by Israeli settlers to build settlements.’

International law forbids nations, such as Israel, from settling its civilians in land in which they have a military occupying force.

So Father Giles will have the aim of keeping lasting peace based on international law and justice between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

Father Giles added: ‘I just hope that my contribution may help forward this goal a few inches.

‘But I am really looking forward to the trip because I have never done anything like this before.

‘I did go to Israel, about 10 years ago, and I met some Palestinians.

‘Although the situation is still the same, my job will be totally different.’

When he returns home, Father Giles will be sharing his time and experiences with people in Portsmouth.