Thursday, April 17, 2014

Joint Statement on Palestinian Prisoners’ Day:


*Israel must heed international calls to respect human rights of
Palestinians held in Israeli prisons*

17 April 2014

Today, on 17 April 2014, Palestinians around the world commemorate
Prisoners’ Day in solidarity with thousands of Palestinian prisoners and
detainees held in Israeli prisons.

To mark this important day in Palestinian society, four human rights
organizations – Adalah, Al Mezan, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, and
the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel – are issuing this joint
statement to call upon the international community to urge Israel to heed
growing international statements and recommendations to guarantee and
protect the human rights of Palestinian prisoners and detainees in Israeli

Since 1967, Israel has detained and imprisoned over 800,000 Palestinians as
a means of maintaining and consolidating Israel’s control of the Occupied
Palestinian Territory (OPT). Today, according to Addameer, more than 5,200
Palestinian prisoners and
detainees; –
including women and children, pre-Oslo Accords prisoners, and elected
Members of the Palestinian Legislative Council – are being held in prisons
located inside Israel, in contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Israel’s violations of Palestinian prisoners’ basic human
the use of administrative detention without formal charge or trial; severe
restrictions on family visits, lack of access to healthcare and independent
doctors, and access to education; collective punishments such as solitary
confinement; forced strip searches; violent night-time raids on inmates;
and other practices that constitute torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading
treatment. In addition to these policies, Israel is proposing new laws,
such as the Anti-Terror Bill and the Force-feeding Bill, which threaten to
further infringe on the basic rights of Palestinian prisoners and detainees.

Despite these continued practices, this year’s Prisoners’ Day comes at a
time of increasing international scrutiny and criticism towards Israel’s
treatment of Palestinians in Israeli prisons:

*European Parliament: *In March 2014, members of the European Parliament
conducted a Fact-Finding Mission to assess the conditions and polices
towards Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons. The mission was held in
accordance with a European Parliament
on 14 March 2013, following the death of prisoner Arafat
Israeli custody. An investigation by a leading international forensic
pathologist found that Jaradat had suffered acts of
torture; during
custody and that this had led to his death, contradicting Israel's account
that Jaradat died of 'natural causes'.

*European Union: *The EU also issued its European Neighborhood Policy (ENP)
report ; on
Israel in March 2014, in which it highlighted continued complaints of the
use of torture by Israel and the lack of investigations into these
complaints. The EU further expressed concern of the continued excessive use
of administrative detention, and emphasized the need to implement the
recommendations of the Turkel Commission Report to ensure accountability of
Israel’s security services. The EU ENP report echoed many of the issues
highlighted in a joint NGO
by the four partners in October 2013 regarding the human rights of
prisoners and detainees in Israeli prisons.

*United Nations:* In June 2013, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child
(CRC) issued harsh concluding
Israel’s treatment of Palestinian children detainees and prisoners,
including harsh arrests and detentions of minors, night-time raids on
Palestinian homes, denial of family supervision or contact during custody,
solitary confinement against minors as punishment, and psychological and
physical violence by police and security forces that constitute forms of
torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

We call upon the international community to demand that Israel incorporate
these international recommendations in order to address the deteriorating
human rights conditions of Palestinian prisoners and to end its breaches of
international law. We demand that Israel end the practice of torture and
ill-treatment against Palestinian prisoners, end its use of administrative
detention, and end the severe tactics of arrest and detention of
Palestinian minors. We further demand that Israel ends all discriminatory
legislation that target the rights of Palestinians in Israeli prisons, and
that it ensures transparency and accountability of Israeli security and
prison authorities.

*Read more: **Joint report on the human rights of Palestinian prisoners and
detainees, October

*Signing organizations:*

Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel

Al Mezan Center for Human Rights

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I)

Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI)

[image: Inline image 2]


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