PRESS RELEASE

September 8, 2003

PHRMG Calls for Addressing the Prisoners’ Humanitarian Demands for Survival

PHRMG calls upon Palestinians and the world at large to address the prisoners’ humanitarian demands for survival, and insists that pressure must be made in order to improve prisoners’ living conditions and to secure their eventual release. Although very dangerous and very destructive, many prominent Palestinian prisoners have declared a hunger strike in an effort to improve their living conditions and circumstances while staying in Israeli prisons.

In a statement issued by the committee that defends the rights of the Palestinian prisoners who are still confined to Israeli jails, PHRMG calls upon Palestinians to face the challenges at this dangerous historical juncture and to affirm their commitment to national unity and their determination to pursue the fulfillment of all legitimate fundamental Palestinian national goals, that have, for the past few decades, enjoyed considerable international backing and support. Among other things, PHRMG points to and revels the various aspects of the inhumane treatment that Palestinians prisoners are subjected to, and the unacceptable conditions and situations that Palestinian prisoners still face in most, if not all, Israeli jails.

PHRMG points to many challenges that remain a threat to the life of many prisoners, including, Mr. Hussam Khader, the PLC member who has been imprisoned since early March of this year. Khader has been confined to isolation, mistreatment and has suffered previously from severe pain that is a result of inflicted physical and mental repression he has been subjected to since the time of his arrest.

PHRMG also points out that the challenges facing Palestinian prisoners may, if not addressed soon enough; bring about serious harm and death to a large majority of the prisoners. It must be pointed out that most of these prisoners have done nothing more than to be politically active in Palestinian affairs in an attempt to secure Palestinian goals through political means. Furthermore, even militant prisoners are entitled to receive treatment that must be consistent with international laws and regulations concerning the responsibilities of occupying powers.

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 The Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group (PHRMG) is a Palestinian, independent, non-governmental organization working to end human rights violations committed against Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem, regardless of those responsible.  The members of the Monitoring Group believe that the strength of democracy and civil society in Palestinian society will be determined by the Palestinian people, through their defense or neglect of human rights.

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