Tuesday, 16/05/2017 PNGO invited Diplomatic Missions including; Consulates, Representative Offices to the PA, International & UN organizations to listen and talk to family members of political prisoners, attorneys and human rights experts. The Urgent Press Conference came on the 30th Day of the Hunger Strike of the Palestinian Political Prisoners and Detainees. Panel speakers included Farah Bayadsi an Attorney at Addameer, Salah Hamoori an Ex-hunger strike prisoner, Father & Sister of Majd Franji who is currently entering his 30th day of the hunger strike, Issam Aruri Chairman of PNGO and finally Shawan Jabarin, Director of Al Haq representing Palestinian Human Rights.
The Palestinian Political Prisoners family member’s and speakers calls upon the International Community to hold Israel accountable and compel them to respect International Law and International Humanitarian law, in particular the Third & Fourth Geneva Convention and the UN standard Minimum Rules for Treatment of Prisoners, World Medical Association Malta declaration on Hunger Strike. “Today we like to remind the UN and the International Community to support the rights of Palestinian Political Prisoners….We urge you to take a firm and vocal position in opposition to Israel’s abuse and violations of Palestinian political prisoners through your representative office and through UN mechanisms at your disposal and use all measures of accountability for these violations conducted by Israel.”
Palestinian Political Prisoners are very disappointed by ICRC. ICRC personal speaks to the prisoners behind closed doors. Prisoners described to the Attorney that they feel like “animals living in a zoo”. Mr. Jabrin said “that ICRC should not comply with the illegal procedures by the Israeli prison forces, and should take a strong stance against all the violations witnessed.”
Many Diplomatic Missions showed up including the Korean Swiss, Swedish, Egyptian, Belgium and Irish to the conference and got to listen first hand to the difficulties facing attorneys trying to see the prisoners, the struggle that hunger strike prisoners go through in order to achieve their rightful basic human rights demands.
On the same day, after the press conference the UN Special Rapporteur on the OPT called on Israel to comply with International law on detention. Michael Lynk, today urged Israel to comply with the International law and international standards for detention. Mr. Lynk said “Prisoners everywhere have a right to engage in hunger strike to protest their living conditions, and they should not be punished as a result.” This is the case in” Israeli prisons where they fined hunger strike prisoners 200-600 NIS and not even allowed to get any more from family among many other forms of punishments such leaving stay in hot rooms, no fans or any forms of electricity, all personal belongings taken away from them leaving them with only their cloths,” said Farah Bayadsi. The speakers also answered questions regarding force feeding which is clearly a form of torture and illegal. Mr. Lynk later said “Force-feeding is a practice that human rights experts have found could amount to torture.” We urge the rest of the International Community to also take a strong stance against violations practiced by Israeli Occupation.