AUSTRALIA’S INDIFFERENCE TO IMMINENT DEATHS OF PALESTINIAN HUNGER STRIKERS

Press Release, May 8, 2012

The mass hunger strikes by Palestinians in Israeli custody are likely to result in deaths in coming days, and Australia’s failure to press Israel to abolish administrative detention is part of the problem says Palestinian Advocacy Group APAN.

“Israel promotes itself as a democracy, but uses administrative detention processes where people can be held without charge for years.  This is contrary to accepted standards of human rights under international law,” says APAN President Rev Jim Barr.  “Australia opposes arbitrary detention around the world, and should be challenging Israel vigorously on this matter”

One of the two men who has been on a hunger strike for 70 days, and is reportedly close to death has been held without charge for nearly two years.   Human Rights groups are reporting that there are now up to 2,600 Palestinian people on hunger strikes in Israeli jails, which is more than half of the total number of Palestinian detainees.

“Detainees on hunger strikes are being denied independent legal and medical assistance.  Many are being held in solitary confinement and prevented from having family visits” continued Rev Barr.  While Amnesty International and APAN have raised deep concerns about the treatment of prisoners, we have heard nothing from the Australian Government”.

For further information contact:

Rev Jim Barr                       APAN President                                         0425 462 277

Jessica Morrison               APAN Executive Officer                                0431 519 577

The Australia Palestine Advocacy Network is a national group representing churches; trade unions; Jewish, Palestinian, aid and human rights groups; academics; and former diplomats.