In support of Palestinian ‘administrative detainees’ on open-end hunger strike
Over one hundred and twenty five Palestinian prisoners (ninety of whom are administrative detainees) have entered the fifth week of an open-end hunger strike to protest Israel’s practice of administrative detention, a procedure under which a person is detained without charge or trial under ‘secret evidence’ that neither the accused nor their lawyer is allowed to see. Military orders to prolong administrative detention can be extended indefinitely; some Palestinians have been imprisoned by Israel for more than 10 years with no charges against them.
Detainees in Ofer, Meggido, and the Naqab prisons began their strike on 24 April 2014 and will continue until their demand for the end of the policy of administrative detention is met. New prisoners are joining the hunger strike on a regular basis. Today there are 183 Palestinians under administrative detention, nine of whom are members of the Palestinian Legislative Council.
This strike is in response to a previous prisoners hunger strike against administrative detention carried out in 2012. Israel agreed in 2012 to end the widespread use of administrative detention, but has refused to carry through.
Hunger strikers have faced severe abuse in Israeli prisons, including solitary confinement and separation from non-striking prisoners. Strikers are not permitted to have visits from their families, and visits from lawyers have been almost entirely curtailed. Prison guards have increased raids on the hunger strikers, confiscated all belongings other than clothing, and in some cases have physically assaulted prisoners. Prison officials have also denied strikers salt – the only form of sustenance besides water – that the strikers have been taking. Prison doctors have tried to coerce strikers into eating.
The rampant use of administrative detention is prohibited by the Fourth Geneva Convention, to which Israel is a signatory. Attempts by physician to force-feed, or coerce hunger strikers to eat are in violation of the World Medical Association’s Malta Declaration, of which Israel is a signatory.
As international human rights organizations supporting Palestinian non-violent resistance to the Israeli occupation, we stand in solidarity with the hunger strike and the Palestinian people who are carrying it out in Israeli prisons.
We condemn the abuse visited on them by the Israeli Prison Service, as well as Israel’s violations of international law regarding the treatment of hunger strikers and administrative detainees.
We demand that the Israeli Prison Service adheres to the international treaties and declarations of which Israel is a signatory; respects the human rights of all Palestinians it holds prisoners, administrative detainees and all the hunger strikers in particular; and that it keeps its promises and ends the illegal practice of administrative detention immediately.
We call on the world’s human rights organisations, prisoners’ rights organisations, and people of conscience all across the globe to put pressure on the Israeli authorities to stop administrative detention and instead respect universal principles of human rights and justice.
International Women’s Peace Service (IWPS)
International Solidarity Movement
Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT)