NEWS UPDATE 28 May 2012 Israeli and Palestinian Human Rights NGOs Conduct EU Advocacy Mission for Prisoners

and Detainees Rights and an End to Administrative Detention Adalah, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I), Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, and the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) conducted an advocacy visit to Brussels to push for more active EU engagement with Israel to end torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment (CIDT) of Palestinian prisoners and detainees held in Israeli prisons, and the use of administrative detention /detention under the Unlawful Combatants Law – 2002. The visit took place from 15-16 May 2012 in the context of the mass hunger strike staged by Palestinian prisoners against Israel’s use of administrative detention / detention under the Unlawful Combatants Law, solitary confinement, the lack of family visits and other severe measures and conditions of imprisonment. These conditions did not improve after the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange in 2011 but only worsened, and combined may constitute CIDT in violation of international law. As of April 2012, over 4600 Palestinians from the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) are currently held in Israeli prisons, 322 of whom are held in administrative detention and one individual from Gaza – Mr. Mahmoud Sarsak as an unlawful combatant. Despite the general agreement to end the strike, Mr. Sarsak remains on hunger strike in critical condition, as the Israeli authorities have yet to provide him with any release date. The delegation was comprised of Amany Dayif of PHR-I, Mahmoud Abu Rahma of Al-Mezan, Attorney Fatmeh El-Ajou’ of Adalah, Attorney Meissa Irshaid of PCATI and the NGOs’ European Advocacy Coordinator, Miri Weingarten. The delegation met with a range of EU policy-makers and diplomats, members of the European parliament, EU member state officials in permanent representation offices, the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights, Belgian jurists, and European civil society organizations. The human rights organizations distributed a briefing paper, drafted with Addameer, that included statistics; Israeli laws governing administrative detention; the harsh conditions of imprisonment faced by Palestinian political prisoners; the hunger strike and Israel’s response; and a set of recommendations to the EU, building on the EU’s longstanding concern about Israel’s extensive use of administrative detention. The organizations requested that the EU: engage with Israel to end administrative detention / detention under the Unlawful Combatants Law; encourage EU representatives to attend court hearings, make statements, and intervene with hunger-strikers at-risk; include issues of torture and ill-treatment and the human rights of Palestinians in Israeli custody as a priority in the human rights country strategy for Israel; report on these matters as a violation of international human rights and humanitarian law in its progress report on Israel; and raise concerns in its

Council Conclusions and the EU-Israel Association Council statements and in bilateral fora such as the informal EU-Israel Working Group on Human Rights, and the Subcommittee on Political Dialogue.

THIS PROJECT IS FUNDED BY THE EUROPEAN UNION JOINT PROJECT OF ADALAH, AL MEZAN (GAZA) AND PHR-ISRAEL

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful