Last Updated: Monday, 22 December 2014, 08:33 GMT

Ban urges speedy resolution of hunger strikes by Palestinian prisoners

Publisher UN News Service
Publication Date 19 February 2013
Cite as UN News Service, Ban urges speedy resolution of hunger strikes by Palestinian prisoners, 19 February 2013, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/51277d29d.html [accessed 22 December 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, voicing deep concern over what he called the "rapidly deteriorating condition" of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody who are on hunger strike, urged a solution to the matter be reached without delay.

"International human rights obligations towards all Palestinian detainees and prisoners under Israeli custody must be fully respected," Mr. Ban's spokesperson said in a statement that also underlined the importance of full adherence by all sides to previous agreement on the issue, including the implementation of prisoners' family visitation rights.

Of particular concern are the detainees held in administrative detention without charges, the spokesman said. "Those detained should be charged and face trial with judicial guarantees in accordance with international standards, or be promptly released," he said.

The spokesperson underlined the critical health condition of one Palestinian detainee, Samer Issawi. Mr. Issawi has been on partial hunger strike for over 200 days, according to a news release issued last week by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

"The Secretary-General urges for a solution to be reached without delay in order to resolve the prisoners' plight and preserve calm," the spokesperson said.

Mr. Ban also raised the deteriorating health condition of the Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike during a telephone conversation on Monday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, highlighting the need for an urgent solution.

Last week, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, James W. Rawley, met with the Palestinian Minister of Prisoner and Detainee Affairs. Today he met with representatives of the families of detainees.

"The United Nations will remain engaged with relevant authorities on both the Palestinian and Israeli sides and hopes for an early resolution of this important issue," he said.

He noted that the Secretary-General had received a letter from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as well as from the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States on the subject.

He has also expressed his concerns to Mr. Netanyahu in their recent telephone conversation, the spokesman said.

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