Palestinian official calls on UN to help jailed hunger strikers

Published June 20th, 2015 - 04:16 GMT

Palestinian Minister of Prisoner’s Affairs Issa Qaraqea Saturday appealed to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to intercede with Israel to save Palestinian prisoners who are on a hunger strike in Israeli jails.

In a letter to the UN Chief, Qaraqea said the prisoners’ lives are under a grave threat in view of Israel’s disregard for their demands and deteriorating health, expressing concern that Israel would resort to force to feed them, which he said “will be tantamount to legalizing their torture and killing them in breach of international humanitarian law.” 

One of the prisoners is Khader Adnan, who has been on a hunger strike for 50 days to protest his administrative detention without trial, and who runs the risk of sudden death due to his severe ill health and dire condition, said the Palestinian Authority official.  

Other detainees have also stopped taking food to protest conditions and maltreatment in prisons. 

The official held the UN and its agencies responsible for the lives of those on hunger strike and said the world body should act promptly to protect the detainees and exert pressure on Israel, the occupying power, the live up to the UN Charter and resolutions.

He said Israel’s harsh treatment of Palestinian prisoners is an official and systematic policy, and part of the ongoing violations of their rights and the unjust penalties in imposes on them, both individually and collectively.

The conditions in Israeli jails, he said, warrant holding a special session of the UN General Assembly, adding that it is unacceptable that Israel remains above the law, practicing severe punishment and violating prisoner’s rights.  He said such breaches had increased recently, referring to atrocities such as arrests and arbitrary administrative detentions, medical negligence, solitary confinement, the arrest of children, and barring of family visits

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