The Mission of the State of Palestine would like to share this briefing with you from human rights group Addameer, published today 31st March 2020.
Addameer draws attention to the situation of Palestinian prisoners. 41 of these prisoners are women, and 18 of those are mothers who need to be with their families during this pandemic.
The arbitrary measures taken recently by the prison authorities including depriving prisoners of essential items including cleaning materials, sterilizers and foodstuffs do not bode well for more than 5,000 male and female prisoners, especially the most vulnerable group. There are currently 700 prisoners suffering from illness, 200 of whom have chronic diseases. There are also 180 children being held.
The growing concern for Palestinian prisoners and detainees during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic stems from the systematic and routine medical negligence inside Israeli detention and interrogation centres.
In 2019, five Palestinian prisoners died in captivity, three of them as a result of deliberate medical negligence, while hundreds suffer from chronic diseases that go untreated.
International law and international humanitarian law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, provides for the protection of prisoners’ rights in times of epidemics, and the provision of appropriate medical care and special treatment for sick prisoners. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, on 25 March 2020 called on countries to reduce the number of prisoners, and take all measures to release those particularly vulnerable to the virus, such as the elderly and the sick.
We call on the people and governments of the world to pressure Israel to immediately release vulnerable prisoners including the elderly, women, minors and administrative detainees. We reiterate our call for immediate international and human rights activists to save our prisoners before it is too late. Israel, the occupying Power, has legal and political responsibility for the life and health of the prisoners.
We join the call of Addameer to