Joint Statement: Hunger strikes, force feeding and imprisonment

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31 July 2013

Occupied Ramallah, 31 July 3013 - Following the growing international discourse surrounding hunger strikes and force-feeding of Palestinians in Israeli prisons, detainees in the United States Guantanamo Bay detention camp and California prisons, we the undersigned Palestinian and Israeli civil society organizations, express our solidarity with hunger striking prisoners and detainees across the globe and express our opposition to the suppression of legitimate protests through severe punitive measures and force feeding.

In the past two years we have witnessed the unique and unprecedented growth of prisoner protests. These global protests have been mainly led by political prisoners, such as - Kurdish prisoners in Turkey, multinationals in the United States‘ Guantanamo Bay detention camp, Palestinians in Israeli prisons, Bahraini and Tunisian prisoners of conscience, political prisoners in Russia and China and many others. Prisoners are protesting for various reasons, including the very essence of the "offences" that led to their incarceration, their mistreatment and the deleterious prison conditions. We have also witnessed the largest ever hunger strike in the United States, with an estimated 30,000 prisoners taking part in California prisons at its outset.

Occupied Ramallah, 31 July 3013 - Following the growing international discourse surrounding hunger strikes and force-feeding of Palestinians in Israeli prisons, detainees in the United States Guantanamo Bay detention camp and California prisons, we the undersigned Palestinian and Israeli civil society organizations, express our solidarity with hunger striking prisoners and detainees across the globe and express our opposition to the suppression of legitimate protests through severe punitive measures and force feeding.

 
In the past two years we have witnessed the unique and unprecedented growth of prisoner protests. These global protests have been mainly led by political prisoners, such as - Kurdish prisoners in Turkey, multinationals in the United States‘ Guantanamo Bay detention camp, Palestinians in Israeli prisons, Bahraini and Tunisian prisoners of conscience, political prisoners in Russia and China and many others. Prisoners are protesting for various reasons, including the very essence of the "offences" that led to their incarceration, their mistreatment and the deleterious prison conditions. We have also witnessed the largest ever hunger strike in the United States, with an estimated 30,000 prisoners taking part in California prisons at its outset.
 
These unprecedented protests highlight the historical policy of criminalizing political resistance to occupation and oppression, poverty, social and ethnic diversity, and asylum seeking. The protests have also drawn attention to unfair economic and social policies which are the leading causes of imprisonment.
 
"The majority of prisoners worldwide come from economically and socially disadvantaged back-grounds, most suffer from poverty, unemployment, lack of housing, broken families, histories of psychological problems and mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse and […] Many are in prison for non-violent or minor offences."