UN: Israel should release Palestinians on hunger strikes

[JURIST] United Nations Secretary General Ban Kim Moon [official website] on Friday urged [press release] Israel to release Palestinian administrative detainees over fears of failing health in a hunger strike. Some sources estimate [AFP report] that over 290 Palestinians detained in Israel are on hunger strike, with about 70 requiring medical treatment to live. On Thursday the United Nations UN Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories [press release] expressed concern about a bill in the Isreali Knesset [official website] that would allow force feeding for those on the hunger strike. The Committee emphasized that the massive hunger strike is retaliation for a lack of due process because the administrative detainees and many other prisoners have not been formally charged with any crime by Israeli forces, but are subject to unlimited renewals of the detention period.

Israel has been criticized for its treatment of Palestinian prisoners and going on hunger strike to protest administrative detention by Israeli authorities has recently become a common tactic by Palestinian prisoners. In February 2013, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official website] expressed concerns about hunger strikes for similarly situated detainees. In June 2012 a UN Special Reporter called on Israel to release two Palestinian detainees [JURIST report] who have been on hunger strike for 82 and 58 days to protest their administrative detention. In May 2012 UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on Israel to try or release more than 1,000 prisoners [JURIST report] who had been on hunger strike. Earlier that same month the Israeli Supreme Court ruled against [JURIST report] two detainees who had been on hunger strike in their appeal seeking release from detention. During the same month the Special Reporter expressed his concern [JURIST report] for the continued human rights violations in Israel's prisons. He called on the country to comply with the international standards of how to treat detainees.

 

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