Press briefing note

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Rupert Colville
Location:  Geneva
Date: 14 July 2015

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(2) Israel / Occupied Palestinian Territory

We welcome the recent release of Khader Adnan who had been on hunger strike since 5 May 2015 in protest at his continuing administrative detention by the Israeli authorities since 8 July 2014. We reiterate our call, last made in April, on Israel to end its practice of administrative detention and to either release without delay or to promptly charge all administrative detainees, affording them all the due process guarantees required by international human rights law and standards.  At the end of March 2015, 396 Palestinians including one woman were reportedly held in administrative detention in Israel Prison Service (IPS) facilities.  Administrative detainees are held without charge or trial, often on the basis of secret evidence, for periods of up to six months, which are extendable indefinitely. The Secretary-General, the UN Human Rights Office and the Human Rights Committee have called for this practice to end.

On 14 June 2015, the Israeli cabinet approved a bill that would permit the force-feeding of Palestinian hunger-striking prisoners. We are concerned that the bill is now advancing towards final approval by the Knesset. When a similar bill was proposed in the Israeli Knesset last year, both the High Commissioner and a group of Special Procedures mandate holders expressed concerns that the implementation of such a law could breach international human rights standards. We reiterate those concerns today.

We are also seriously concerned at the situation of another Palestinian hunger striker, this time being detained by the Palestinian authorities. Islam Hasan Jameel Hamed has been protesting since 11 April 2015 at his continued detention by the Palestinian General Intelligence Services despite a Palestinian court ruling that he has served his sentence – originally imposed in 2011 – and should be immediately released. Hamed is in his fourth month without food and his condition is now very serious. We urge the Palestinian authorities to respect the court ruling and release Islam Hamed.

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ENDS

For more information and media requests, please contact  Rupert Colville  (+41 22 917 9767 / rcolville@ohchr.org) or Ravina Shamdasani (+ 41 22 917 9169 / rshamdasani@ohchr.org ) or Cécile Pouilly (+41 22 917 9310 / +41 79 618 34 30/ cpouilly@ohchr.org).