Occupied Ramallah, 5 June 2014 - Palestinian administrative detainees today enter their 43rd day of open hunger strike which was launched in protest of the policy of administrative detention, while international bodies and institution, as well as the Palestinian Authority continue to fail to pressure the Occupying Power to protect the hunger strikers.
Addameer believes that this silence is contributing to the continued failure of the Occupying Power to address the demands of the hunger strikers. This is represented in two extremely dangerous situations; firstly, the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) has informed the hunger strikers committee that in it not within their power to negotiate with the hunger strikers; and secondly, the Occupying Power’s attempt to pass legislation that will permit the force-feeding of hunger strikers.
Although the Israeli Medical Association is firmly against this proposed force feeding legislation, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has recently stated that Israeli physicians will be found to carry out the force feeding and has also stated that the process for passing of the force feeding legislation will be speeded up in an attempt to deal with the current hunger strikers. If this legislation is indeed passed into law it would have serious implications as according to the World Medical Association Declaration of Malta on Hunger Strikers, “Forcible feeding is never ethically acceptable”.
The IPS and its special units continue to take extreme punitive measures against the hunger strikers in an attempt to break their strike. These include the forbidding of any communication with the outside world; restricting access to their legal counsel; continuously transferring hunger strikers between prisons; isolation; solitary confinement of the hunger strikers leadership; denial of family visits; and fines (up to 475 NIS).
The hunger strikers are held in empty sections and cells; their clothes and basic possessions have been confiscated; and they are only allowed to keep cups to drink water. In some prisons they are forced to drink dirty water from taps or to walk 40 meters in order to get water.
The prison guards and IPS special units beat and insult the hunger strikers on a daily basis, forcing them to stand for a head count without taking their health conditions and their inability to stand up into consideration.
In addition, the doctors and nurses of the IPS continue to treat the hunger strikers inhumanly which is a violation of the professional ethics stated in both the Tokyo and Malta Declarations. These violations include giving the hunger striker salt and water in urine-sample containers and IPS special units delay taking the hunger strikers to restrooms. Many hunger strikers who have been transferred to civil hospitals, and are shackled to their hospitals beds 24 hours a day, have demanded to be brought back to prison, instead of staying at these civil hospitals. There are currently approximately 80 hunger strikers who remain in civil hospitals.
According to testimonies given to Addameer’s lawyers the hunger strikers have already lost between 13 and 20 kilograms in weight and the numbers of those who are fainting is rapidly increasing. As a result of their deteriorating health some of the hunger strikers are suffering from intestinal bleeding and are also vomiting blood.
The majority of the hunger strikers have been boycotting the prison clinics and refuse to take vitamins and supplements which has lead to the transfer of 80 strikers to hospitals and medical centers: Meir Medical Center, Ichilov Hospital, Kaplan Medical Center, Barzilai Medical Center, Tel HaShomer Hospital, Beilinson Hospital, Afouleh Hospital, Soroka Medical Center, Wolfson Medical Center.
In response to the on-going hunger strikes Israeli Occupying Forced (IOF) continue to commit crimes against Palestinian prisoners and detainees, as well as their supporters and anyone that stands in solidarity with their cause. For example, on 15 May 2014 two unarmed Palestinian young men were shot dead by IOF during a peaceful demonstration outside Ofer prison in support of the hunger strikers.
Addameer demands the Palestine Liberation Organization and the new Palestinian Government:
- · Develop a national legal strategy based on International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law in order to protect and guarantee the prisoners’ rights and to hold the Occupying Power accountable for the ongoing crimes practiced against all Palestinian prisoners and detainees.
- · Call on the Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to conduct an urgent meeting to reflect on the continuous violations of the rights of the Palestinian prisoners and detainees by the Occupying Power based on the Article 1 of the Fourth Geneva Convention which obligates the Contracting Parties to respect and guarantee the application of the Geneva Conventions in all circumstances.
- · Call for the Security Council to convene immediately to discuss the issue of Palestinian administrative detainees on hunger strike and intervene to protect them.
- · Request an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on the legality of the Israeli Occupation and its control over the West Bank and Gaza Strip on the basis of more than 1,700 Israeli Military Orders.
- · Addameer demands the new Palestinian Government to follow through its promises of prioritizing the prisoners and mobilize all its resources, both locally and internationally, into real and effective actions particularly by the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to expose the violations and crimes of the Occupying Power. In addition Addameer also demands that they commit to activating and supporting the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement as a means of holding the Occupying Power accountable for its on-going violations against the Palestinian people.
Addameer demands the International Committee of the Red Cross:
- · Immediately form a medical team to monitor the hunger strikers health conditions.
- · Publically condemn Israel’s use of administrative detention against Palestinians which violates the Fourth Geneva Convention.
- · Pressure the Israeli Prison Service to respect the rights of the hunger strikers in order to guarantee their wellbeing.
Addameer demands the United Nations:
- Publically condemn Israel’s use of administrative detention which contradicts the Fourth Geneva Convention and international laws which guarantee fair trials standards.
- · Addameer demands the UN immediately establish a committee allowing for an international investigation that will visit the prisons and observe the treatment and conditions of Palestinian prisoners and detainees in Israeli prisons.
- · Addameer demands the World Health Organization to begin an immediate investigation into the practices and violations of prison physicians, with reference to the Malta and Tokyo Declarations on hunger strikers.
Addameer demands the European Union:
- · End its policy of double standards and start condemning Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity against Palestinian civilians. Addameer also demands the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, to publically voice concern for the lives of the hunger strikers and Israel’s continued systematic use of administrative detention and emphasize the necessity of protecting the hunger strikers rights in accordance with International Humanitarian Law and the International Human Rights Law.
- · Publically condemn the Occupying Power’s use of administrative detention against Palestinian civilians in violation of Geneva Conventions and other international laws and regulations which only allows for the use of administrative detention on an individual case-by-case basis and in severe cases of security threats and which guarantees the fair trial standards.