Source: UN News Centre
The United Nations Human Rights Council announced today the appointment of three members to its independent Commission of Inquiry to investigate purported violations of international humanitarian and human rights laws in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and particularly in the Gaza Strip since the conflict began on 13 June.
In a statement released this afternoon, the Council’s President, Ambassador Baudelaire Ndong Ella (Gabon), announced that the human rights body appointed Amal Alamuddin (United Kingdom), Doudou Diène (Senegal) and William Schabas (Canada) to serve as members on the international Commission. Mr. Schabas will also serve as the Commission’s Chair.
The Commission aims to establish the facts and circumstances of violations and crimes perpetrated and to identify those responsible. It will also make recommendations, in particular on accountability measures, all with a view to avoiding and ending impunity and ensuring that those responsible are held accountable, and on ways to protect civilians against any further assaults. (more…)
ADDAMEER Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association
26 February 2012
HUNGER STRIKES ESCALATE: 12 Detainees on Hunger Strike, some nearing death as the Israeli Prison Service denies Addameer’s lawyers visitation rights
Occupied Ramallah, 26 February 2013 – Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association can confirm that the number of prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli Occupation’s jails has increased to twelve.
Detainee Ayman Sharawna (36 years old) from Dura Al Khalil: Sharawna started his hunger strike on 1 July 2012 in protest of his re-arrest under Article 186 of Military Order 1651. This law allows a special military commission to effectively “cancel the early release” of prisoners who were released in the prisoners exchange deal. In Sharwana’s case, this means that he can be sentenced to serve the remaining 28 years of his sentence.
Sharawna briefly suspended his hunger strike in December 2012 at the promise of a court hearing to resolve his case. He resumed his hunger strike on 17 January 2013 after learning that the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) deceived him in their promise. He is currently in isolation in Ayalon Prison in Beer al-Saba’, and is subjected to harsh and degrading treatment by the IPS and the special forces.
On 20 February 2013, the Israeli Supreme Court considered an appeal in Sharawna’s name regarding Article 186 of Military Order 1651. The court decided to return the case to the Military Commission to make a decision, before it can be raised again in the Supreme Court.
Detainee Samer Al-Issawi (33 years old) from Issawiya, Jerusalem: Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) re-arrested Issawi on 7 July 2012. He has been on a hunger strike intermittently for over 200 days in protest of his arbitrary re-arrest. Issawi is a recently released ex-prisoner who was released in the latest prisoner exchange deal on 18 October 2011. He suffers from a severe decrease in weight as his weight hovers around 45 kilograms, a 23 kg decrease since his arrest. Issawi is not strong enough to move on his own and has to use a wheelchair. He recently escalated his hunger strike and stopped drinking water.
On 21 February 2013, the Israeli Magistrate Court sentenced Issawi to eight months as of the day of his arrest, on the grounds that he violated a military order by entering the West Bank. This ruling is in addition to a forthcoming sentencing by the Military Commission under Article 186 of Military Order 1651 which will consider if Issawi will be sentenced to complete his previous sentence of 20 years.
Administrative Detainees Jafar Azzidine (41 years old) and Tarek Qa’adan (40 years old), from Araba, Jenin: Azzidine and Qa’adan started their hunger strike on 28 November 2012, in protest of their administrative detention orders. On 24 February 2013, they were transferred from Ramleh Prison Clinic to Asaf Harove Hospital as their health condition seriously deteriorated due to their refusal to drink water. They were scheduled to have hearings today in Ofer Military Court to confirm their renewed administrative detention orders for an addition three months beginning on 22 February 2013. The court hearing was postponed until tomorrow (27 February 2013) and will be held in the hospital due to their fragile health condition and their inability to move.
Eight additional detainees announced their joining of the hunger strike. They are:
Detainee Mona Qa’adan from Araba, Jenin: Qa’adan entered a hunger strike on 20 February 2013 in support of her detained brother, Tarek Qa’adan, who is also on hunger strike. It is reported that she is currently in isolation as punishment for having joined the hunger strike.
Prisoner Maher Abdellatif Younis, the longest serving Palestinian prisoner in the Occupation’s jails: Younis began his hunger strike on 24 February
2013 and is currently in Gilboa Prison. He announced his strike with the goal of shedding light on the issue of pre-Oslo prisoners (who currently number 109), and the necessity of their release en masse without appeal. Younis (54 years old) is from the town of ‘Ara in the “Triangle” region in northern Palestine, and has spent over 30 years behind bars.
Administrative detainee Hazem Al-Tawil, resident of the city of Al-Khalil (Hebron): He entered an open hunger strike on 20 February 2013 after one day of detention in protest of the issuing of a six-month administrative detention order against him. He is currently in an isolation cell in Ofer Prison. It is noteworthy that Al-Tawil previously spent a year and a half in prison on the basis of administrative detention orders.
Detainee Samer Al-Barq (38 years old) from Jayyous, Qalqilia: The military prosecuter proceeded to renew an order of administrative detention against him last Sunday 24 February 2013, for a period of three months. The detainee undertook a number of hunger strikes in the past years and has been administratively detained since July 2010. He currently languishes behind bars in Hadarim Prison.
Addameer learned that detained Younis Al-Hroub announced a hunger strike in protest of his administrative detention. Prisoners Ayman Saker, Sofian Rabie and Omar Dar Ayyoub announced an open hunger strike in support of the other striking prisoners.
Addameer Prisoners’ Support and Human Rights Association expresses its concern for the lives of hunger striking prisoners and detainees and maintains that the just solution for the issue of striking prisoners lies in the meeting of their demands and the treatment of all Palestinian detainees in accordance with international humanitarian law, particularly the Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions and other conventions of international human rights law.
Addameer calls on the Arab Republic of Egypt to work seriously on releasing all prisoners freed in the prisoners exchange deal and on forcing the Occupying State to cancel Article 186 of Military Order 1651, which authorizes the detention of freed prisoners.
Addameer condemns the decision of the Israeli Prison Service to forbid lawyers from visiting detainees and prisoners on hunger strike. Addameer considers this to be the latest installment in a series of abuses faced by the organization and its staff in an attempt to silence their voices and undermine their determination to support the fight for justice and freedom for prisoners, and the end of the occupation.
*Write to the Israeli government, military and legal authorities and demand the release of the prisoners on hunger strike.
Brigadier General Danny Efroni
Military Judge Advocate General
6 David Elazar Street
Harkiya, Tel Aviv
Fax: +972 3 608 0366; +972 3 569 4526
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon
OC Central Command Nehemia Base, Central Command
Neveh Yaacov, Jerusalam
Fax: +972 2 530 5741
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Ehud Barak
Ministry of Defense
37 Kaplan Street, Hakirya
Tel Aviv 61909, Israel
Fax: +972 3 691 6940 / 696 2757
Col. Eli Bar On
Legal Advisor of Judea and Samaria PO Box 5
Beth El 90631
Fax: +972 2 9977326
*Write to your own elected representatives urging them to pressure Israel to release the hunger strikers.
20 November 2012
Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Rupert Colville
Subject: 1) Gaza
The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, is acutely concerned about Palestinian and Israeli civilians caught up in the ongoing crisis in Gaza and southern Israel.
She is dismayed by the marked surge in the number of Palestinian civilians, including women and children, killed and injured over the past 48 hours as a result of Israeli military action. According to information gathered by OHCHR monitors on the ground, the civilian death toll has more than doubled during this period. As of this morning, at least 57 civilians, including 18 children, have been killed and hundreds have been injured since 14 November.
The High Commissioner deplores attacks such as the bombing of a house in Gaza which killed at least eight members of the Al-Dalou family, including 4 young children on 18 November.
The High Commissioner appreciates statements made by Israeli officials about the precautions taken to avoid harm to civilians. However, attacks affecting schools and religious sites, as well as the reported targeting of homes and media outlets during the past 48 hours raise serious concerns about Israel’s commitment to its obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law. The High Commissioner therefore calls on Israel to scrupulously meet its legal obligations to distinguish at all times between civilians and combatants, and to take precautions and all possible measures to avoid the loss of civilian life and damage to civilian property.
The High Commissioner reiterates her condemnation of the continuing indiscriminate attacks and targeting of civilians in Israel by militants in Gaza which have killed three civilians as well as causing civilian injuries and damage to civilian property.
High Commissioner Pillay strongly supports the Secretary-General’s efforts toward a cease fire agreement, and hopes that any such agreement contains commitments by both sides to respect international human rights law and international humanitarian law.
The High Commissioner recalls the need to ensure accountability for any violations of international law, including through prompt, impartial, independent and effective investigations into credible allegations of violations.
In response to a follow-up question on attacks on homes, schools and religious site,the spokesperson said that UN human rights staff had received reports that 31 residences had been hit directly as well as two buildings housing media. They had also received reports of damage to some 30 schools, but no direct hits that they were aware of, and reports of damage to ten religious sites, but again with no direct hits.
In response to a question as to whether any of these attacks constituted war crimes, the spokesperson said that would depend on the specific circumstances in each incident, and that the information to make that type of assessment was not yet available. He noted that in this type of situation, under international humanitarian law, three key principles apply: these are ‘distinction’ (making every effort to distinguish between combatants and civilians); ‘precaution’ (taking all possible precautions to avoid civilian casualties); and ‘proportionality’ (refraining from launching an attack when it is expected to cause excessive loss of civilian life in relation to the anticipated military advantage).