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Israel: UN concerned about deteriorating health condition of hunger-striking Palestinian detainees  

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News briefing 

Translated and edited by: Committee for Justice

Geneva: November 28, 2021

UN experts have expressed their concerns about the deteriorating health conditions of several prisoners in administrative detention in Israel, who are detained without charge or trial and currently on prolonged hunger strike to protest their detention conditions.

Hunger strike to protest arbitrary detention: 

In a memorandum sent to the Israeli authorities on September 27, 2021, which has not yet been responded to, the UN experts expressed their concerns about the conditions of several administrative prisoners, including; Miqdad Al-Qawasameh, 24, from Hebron, who has been on hunger strike for more than 61 days from the time the memorandum was sent, Alaa Al-Araj, 34, from Tulkarm in the West Bank, on hunger strike for more than 43 days, Hisham Ismail Abu Hawash (39 years old) ) from Hebron, who has been on hunger strike for 35 days, and Shadi Abu Aker (37 years old), from Aida refugee camps, who has been on hunger strike for 27 days.

In their memorandum, the experts said they are worried about the deteriorating health status of the above-mentioned persons in administrative detention and about the increasing number of Palestinians who are on hunger strike in protest against their conditions of detention, in particular, the punitive collective punishment reportedly imposed on all prisoners after some of them escaped from Gilboa prison, including suspension of family visits, reduced time in the open air, limited access to the canteen, solitary confinement, threats of indefinite detention, and reduction of essential hygienic items and clothing.

A steady increase in the number of administrative detention orders: 

The experts also referred to the issuance and confirmation of administrative detention orders by the Israeli security forces significantly this year, explaining that in 2020, it was reported that more than 1,114 administrative detention orders were issued against Palestinians, and as of September 7, 2021, 520 Palestinians were under administrative detention without charge.

UN demands from the Israeli authorities: 

The experts called on the Israeli authorities to provide information on the legal and factual basis for the arrest and detention of the persons mentioned in the memorandum, as well as the reasons for their prolonged administrative detention and how this meets due process guarantees. They also called on Israel to provide data disaggregated by age, sex and ethnicity on the persons currently in administrative detention.

The experts also called on Israel to provide information regarding the current health status of the above-mentioned persons, along with information on the steps that have been taken to ensure that they receive appropriate health care.

The experts also requested the authorities in Israel to provide detailed information on the measures they have taken to ensure that legal and procedural safeguards are respected and granted to persons in administrative detention, as well as the measures taken to protect their physical and moral integrity while in detention.

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