RAMALLAH, Thursday, September 09, 2021 (WAFA) – Prisoners' advocacy, civil and human rights organizations today sent an urgent appeal to the United Nations and diplomatic missions to provide protection for Palestinian prisoners in light of Israel’s onslaught against them.
The organizations, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, the Palestinian Prisoner Society, and the Prisoners’ Affairs Commission, in addition to the NGOs Network, the Council of Human Rights Organizations and Inash al-Usra Society launched the urgent appeal to the UN agencies, specifically the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the occupied Palestinian Territory, and the Special Rapporteur on Torture and Ill-treatment, the Special Rapporteur on Physical and Mental Health, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, and the diplomatic missions to the Palestinian Authority to demand protection for Palestinian prisoners from collective punishment and retaliatory measures practiced against them by the Israel Prison Service.
In their appeal, the groups addressed the repressive measures that are still being committed against the prisoners after six prisoners from Gilboa prison managed to escape on Monday and the collective punishment that was practiced against Palestinian prisoners in various prisons, including transfers, isolation, subjecting some to investigation, storming of prison sections by the special units and the assault on the prisoners prompting some prisoners in the Naqab prison to burn their rooms in protest against the attacks by the prison guards.
As part of this collective punishment against the prisoners, the Red Cross informed this morning the prisoners' families of the decision to cancel family visits until the end of September.
The organizations also warned against the continuation and escalation of these measures as they constitute collective punishment against the Palestinian prisoners and contradict with the responsibilities of the Occupying Power under the Fourth Geneva Convention. They called on the United Nations to pressure the occupying power to ensure protection for Palestinian prisoners, especially the right to life and physical health.
The International Committee of the Red Cross was also called on to follow up on the situation of the prisoners, specifically their transfer from Gilboa prison, and to check where they have been taken to in order to inform their families of their whereabouts, in addition to providing protection for the Palestinian prisoners from collective punishment and retaliatory measures.
They also called on the international community and the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention to abide by their obligations to protect human rights and enforce international humanitarian law.
In a separate statement, Addameer expressed "grave concern over the institution of a series of collective, punitive, retaliatory, and arbitrary measures by Israeli occupation authorities against Palestinian political prisoners—amounting to over 4,700 Palestinian prisoners."
It warned of such measures as "they stand in stark contrast to Israel’s responsibility as an occupying power under the Fourth Geneva Convention, serving as collective punishment against all Palestinian prisoners."
Addameer emphasized that "without third-party supervision of IPS policies, the rights of Palestinian prisoners will continue to be violated with impunity, and the gravity of the situation will only increase."