On April 23, 2014, more than 100 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons without charge or trial (“administrative detention”) launched a collective hunger strike, demanding a halt to the internationally condemned practice.
Currently, 5,271 Palestinians are confined to Israeli prisons, including 192 who have never been charged or tried in court. Far from being a temporary measure, administrative detention can last for years. For example, Moayad Shorab from Nablus has been detained continuously since November of 2012, and Mazen Natsha from Hebron has been seized and released many times, for a cumulative 11 years. The two youngest administrative detainees are Ashraf Reimawee and Ismail Oukal, bothjust 19 years old.
The Fourth Geneva Convention stipulates that detention without due process is permissible only in “exceptional circumstances.” In addition, according to Article 9 of the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), no individual should be subjected to arbitrary detention. All persons must be informed at the time of arrest of the reasons for their detention and given access to a court empowered to rule without delay on the lawfulness of the action. Israel ratified the ICCPR in 1991.
Yet, between the beginning of 2004 and the end of 2013, the Israeli military governor issued an estimated7,171 orders allowing Palestinians to be held without charge or trial. Orders are issued for six months at a time, and can be extended indefinitely.
Thus, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has concluded that Israel’s use of administrative detention cannot be justified on security grounds. Likewise, the International Committee of the Red Cross stated that, “The exceptionality of administrative detention should be maintained; (yet) it is extensively used by the Israeli authorities, often to restrict political activities.”
Adding to this consensus, a European Parliament resolution passed on March 14, 2013, recognized Israel's legitimate security concerns, but stated that “(Palestinian) detainees should be charged and face trial, with judicial guarantees in accordance with international standards, or be promptly released.”
Palestinians have a long history of nonviolently resisting their unlawful detention, including with hunger strikes. However, Israeli authorities respond with severe violations of other human rights, including torture, solitary confinement and denial of family visits.
With the health of the Palestinians prisoners on hunger strike rapidly deteriorating, sending more than 100 to the hospital as of this writing, the Palestinian Authority and the international community must take urgent action to hold Israel accountable. Israeli authorities must release all administrative detainees unless they are promptly charged with internationally recognized criminal offences and tried in accordance with widely accepted fair trial standards. In addition, Israeli must be pressured to end the routine use of administrative detention to target a particular ethnic group.
We, the human right organizations whose signatures appear on this petition, declare our condemnation of the arbitrary and ongoing use of administrative detention by Israeli authorities, along with detainees’ brutal and inhumane treatment. Therefore, we:
- Call upon Israel to end its policy of detention without fair, transparent charge and trial, including an immediate, public review of the cases of all individuals currently held in this status. If charges based on criminal acts rather than political beliefs are not supported with reliable evidence that can be challenged in court, all such persons should be immediately released.
- Appeal to the international community and governments that stand for justice and democracy to use all means available to pressure Israel to comply with its obligations under the Fourth Geneva Conventions and ICCPR.
- Call for an emergency meeting of states parties to Geneva Conventions in order to pressure Israel to respect its obligations as an occupying power, and thus ensure the protection of the fundamental rights of the Palestinian population in the OPT, and to treat them humanely at all times.
- Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor
- Geneva International Centre for Justice (GICJ)
- Union of Arab Jurists
- General Arab Women Federation
- Al Dameer Association for Human Rights
- Ahrar Center for Prisoners Studies and Human Rights
- Friends of Humanity International
- Palestinska Rättvisecentret
- Palestinian Rights Institute
- Droit Pour Tous
- Liberté Equité
- The Executive Office for Supporting Detainees- Tunisia
- Al-Meethaq Human Rights Organization
- UFree Network
- BRussels Tribunal
- Arab Lawyers Association- UK
- Association of Humanitarian Lawyers (AHL)
- The International League of Iraqi Academics (ILIA)
- The Iraqi Commission on Human Rights (ICHR)
- Women Will Association (WWA)
- Organization for Widows and Orphans (OWO)
- Ikraam Center for Human Rights
- Arab Organization for Human Rights
- Indian Movement "Tupaj Amaru"
- International Volunteerism Organization for Women, Education and Development- VIDES
- Nord-Sud XXI - North-South XXI
- Organisation Mondiale des associations pour l'éducation prénatale
- Organisation pour la Communication en Afrique et de Promotion de la Coopération Economique Internationale, OCAPROCE Int
- United Towns Agency for North-South Cooperation
- Indian Council of South America (CISA)
- International Educational Development, Inc.
- International Human Rights Association of American Minorities (IHRAAM)
- World Peace Council
- Monitoring Net of Human Rights in Iraq (MHRI)
- Women Solidarity for an Independent and Unified Iraq
- Association of Iraqi Diplomats (AID)
- Protection of Human Rights Defenders in the Arab World
- Moroccan Association for the Right to a Fair Trial
- Americans Against the War (France)
- General Federation of Iraqi Women (GFIW)
- The International Action Center (IAC)
- Association of Iraqi Intellectuals and Academics
- The International Network of Arab Human Rights NGOs
- International Anti-Occupation Network (IAON)
- International Lawyers.org
- International Society of Iraqi Scientists
- The Perdana Global Peace Foundation
- Kuala Lumpur Foundation to Criminalise War
- Spanish Campaign against the Occupation and for Iraq Sovereignty- CEOSI
- Arab Cause Solidarity Committee
- Iraq Solidarity Association in Stockholm
- El Taller International
- Center for Development Studies- India
- Action Center for Justice
- the Iraqi Association for Human Rights (IAHR)
- Al-Basa’er Media Association
- DC Anti-War Network.org
- Iraq Solidarity Association in Stockholm
- The Asian Jurists Centre
- Association of Human Rights Defenders in Iraq (AHRDI)
- Arab Lawyers Network-UK
- Conservative Centre of Environmental & Reserves in Fallujah (CCERF)
- Studies Centre for Human Rights and Democracy
- The Iraqi Centre for Human Rights
- Association internationale des droits de l'homme