By: Yamillet Brizuela
Impunity Watch Reporter, Middle East
RAMALLAH, West Bank – May 14, 2017 marked the 28th day of the mass hunger strike by approximately 1,500 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons to protest their administrative detention. This hunger strike started on April 17, 2017, with hopes of drawing international attention to the plight of prisoners. They aim to put pressure on Israeli authorities to spur a change in policy.
The prisoners’ demands involve improvements to prison living condition which they believe, currently, violate basic human rights. They also denounced the torture, ill-treatment, and medical negligence of them by Israeli authorities. The Palestinian prisoners further denounced Israel’s practice of administrative detention, which allows for internment without trial or charge for six-month intervals that can be renewed indefinitely.
Other demands include: more family visits, education options, and public telephones, and are protesting unfair trials, detention of children, medical negligence, and solitary confinement.
Having lived off only salt water and now entering the 4th week of the hunger strike, a conversation of force-feeding the prisoners has arisen. Force-feeding violates international human rights standards.
Under international human rights law, prisoners must be guaranteed basic human rights, which include the right to maintain a family life and freedom from torture and other forms of CIDT, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
The United Nations Committee Against Torture has called on Israel to ensure that prisoners on hunger strikes are not subjected to force-feeding or other medical treatment against their will, as it could amount to torture.
However, without negotiations with prisoners by the Israeli authorities, it is highly likely that prisoners would suffer permanent health damage and possible death.
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