Israel: UN expert calls for the immediate release of three Palestinian detainees on hunger strike held without charges
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
GENEVA (13 February 2013) – United Nations Special Rapporteur Richard Falk today called for the immediate release of three Palestinian detainees held without charges by Israel. Mr. Falk expressed deep concern for the fate of Tarek Qa’adan and Jafar Azzidine, who are on their 78th day of hunger strike, and Samer Al-Issawi, who has been on partial hunger strike for over 200 days.
“Continuing to hold Mr. Qa’adan, Mr Azzidine and Mr. Al-Issawi under these conditions is inhumane. Israel is responsible for any permanent harm,” warned the independent expert designated by the Human Rights Council to monitor and report on Israeli rights violations in Palestine. “If Israeli officials cannot present evidence to support charges against these men, then they must be released immediately.”
“Mr. Qa’adan and Mr. Azzidine are reportedly on the verge of death, with the threat of a fatal heart attack looming,” the expert noted, recalling that both men were arrested on 22 November 2012 and began their hunger strikes on 28 November, after being sentenced to administrative detention for a period of three months. They were transferred to Assaf Harofi Hospital near Tel Aviv on 24 January 2013 after their conditions deteriorated sharply.
This is the second time that Mr. Azzidine and Mr. Qa’adan have undertaken hunger strikes against administrative detention, since they took part in the mass hunger strike of Palestinians from 17 April to 14 May 2012. Mr. Qa’adan had been released after 15 months of detention on 8 July 2012 and Mr. Azzidine had been released on 19 June 2012 after three months of detention, before being re-arrested.
“Israel must end the appalling and unlawful treatment of Palestinian detainees. The international community must react with a sense of urgency and use whatever leverage it possesses to end Israel’s abusive reliance on administrative detention,” urged the Special Rapporteur.
Mr. Falk noted that Israel currently holds at least 178 Palestinians in administrative detention.
UN News Release – Office of the High Commission, Human Rights
NEW YORK (25 October 2012) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, Richard Falk, today called on the UN General Assembly and civil society to take action against Israeli and international businesses that are profiting from Israeli settlements.
Highlighting the activities of Caterpillar Incorporated (USA); Veolia Environment (France); G4S (United Kingdom); The Dexia Group (Belgium); Ahava (Israel); the Volvo Group (Sweden); the Riwal Holding Group (the Netherlands); Elbit Systems (Israel); Hewlett Packard (USA); Mehadrin (Israel); Motorola (USA); Assa Abloy (Sweden); and Cemex (Mexico), Mr. Falk noted that a wide range of Israeli and international businesses are involved in the establishment and maintenance of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory.
“All Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, have been established in clear violation of international law,” recalled the Special Rapporteur. “Yet today Israeli settlements control over 40 percent of the West Bank and between 500,000 and 600,000 Israeli citizens are living in Palestinian territory. In the last 12 months alone, the settler population has increased by over 15,000 persons.”
The Special Rapporteur drew the General Assembly’s attention to developing international law and standards concerning businesses and human rights, including the UN Global Compact and the UN Guiding Principles on Businesses and Human Rights.
“The principles outlined in the Global Compact are clear,” stated Mr. Falk. “Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights and ensure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.”
Mr. Falk also noted guidance developed by the International Committee of the Red Cross that points to the prospect of corporate and individual criminal responsibility for violations committed during a situation of armed conflict.
“In short, businesses should not breach international humanitarian law provisions. Nor should they be complicit in any breaches. If they do, they may be subject to criminal or civil liability. And this liability can be extended to individual employees of such businesses,” asserted the Special Rapporteur while presenting his report.*
“My main recommendation is that the businesses highlighted in the report – as well as the many other businesses that are profiting from the Israeli settlement enterprise – should be boycotted, until they bring their operations into line with international human rights and humanitarian law and standards,” Mr. Falk informed the General Assembly.
The Special Rapporteur further noted that he had written to all the businesses mentioned in his report, and that positive responses were received from Assa Abloy, The Dexia Group, G4S, and Cemex.
“It is encouraging to be informed that Assa Abloy has moved its Mul-T-Locks factory from the West Bank to Israel, and that The Dexia Group, G4S, and Cemex are looking for ways to bring their operations into line with their commitments under the UN Global Compact.”
(*) Check the full report to the UN General Assembly: http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N12/515/86/PDF/N1251586.pdf?OpenElement
In 2008, the UN Human Rights Council designated Richard Falk (United States of America) as the fifth Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights on Palestinian territories occupied since 1967. The mandate was originally established in 1993 by the UN Commission on Human Rights. Learn more, log on to: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/countries/ps/mandate/index.htm