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Lives of Palestinian detainees on hunger strike in danger

08-05-2012 News Release 12/99

Geneva/Jerusalem (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is extremely concerned about the deteriorating health condition of six Palestinian detainees who have been on hunger strike for between 47 and 71 days. The detainees, who are demanding that the Israeli authorities put an end to their administrative detention, are in imminent danger of dying. ICRC delegates and medical staff have been visiting them since their hunger strike began.

So far, more than 1,600 detainees have been on hunger strike since 17 April. Their main demands are for a resumption of family visits from Gaza and for an end to solitary confinement in Israeli places of detention.

"We urge the detaining authorities to transfer all six detainees without delay to a suitable hospital so that their condition can be continuously monitored and so that they can receive specialized medical and nursing care," said Juan Pedro Schaerer, the head of the ICRC delegation in Israel and the occupied territories. "While we are in favour of any medical treatment that could benefit the detainees, we would like to point out that, under resolutions adopted by the World Medical Association, the detainees are entitled to freely choose whether to consent to be fed or to receive medical treatment. It is essential that their choice be respected and their human dignity preserved."

The ICRC regrets that the Israeli authorities have suspended family visits for detainees on hunger strike.

"Families are anxious about the health of their detained relatives," said Mr Schaerer. "We urgently request the Israeli authorities to allow detainees on long-term hunger strike to receive visits from their families. In such extreme circumstances, allowing contact with family members becomes an imperative humanitarian need."

For further information, please contact:
Noora Kero, ICRC Jerusalem, tel: +972 52 601 91 50
Nadia Dibsy, ICRC Jerusalem, tel: +972 52 601 91 48
Ayman Alshehabi, ICRC Gaza, tel: +972 59 960 30 15
Ran Goldstein, ICRC Tel Aviv, tel: +972 52 27 57 517
Hicham Hassan, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 25 41 or +41 79 536 92 57