ACRI: Force Feeding Administrative Detainees Violates Their Rights



The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) is very concerned about the Prime Minister’s announced intention to force-feed hunger striking prisoners who are being held in administrative detention. ACRI’s position paper on this issue explains that as a general rule, force-feeding violates a person’s right to refuse medical treatment, right to physical autonomy and right to dignity.

ACRI’s position is that every decision concerning the provision of medical care, including those concerning basic sustenance, must be taken by independent medical staff in accordance with the Law of Patient Rights, which generally prohibits administering medical care absent the knowing and willing consent of the patient.

The hunger strike being carried out by prisoners held in administrative shines a light on one of the most severe injustices of military rule in the occupied territories.  Palestinian residents are routinely in held in administrative detention for many months, sometimes even years, without being informed of the charges against them or when they will be released.

ACRI’s position is that if there is evidence against an accused person, that person should stand trial. Otherwise, he or she should be released. Administrative detention which allows the denial of liberty without trial is a gross violation of the most fundamental human rights.



On 14 June, 2015, approximately one year after Prime Minister Ntanyahu announced his intention to pass the proposed “Law to Prevent Harm Caused by Hunger Strikes,” the Israeli cabinet passed a bill that would allow authorities to force feed prisoners that decide to go on a hunger strike. Approval of the bill is the first step towards the passage of the aforementioned law, which was introduced prior to the conflict between Israel and Gaza in the summer of 2014. This law would permit medical professionals to violate the bodily integrity of administrative detainees and cement institutionalized injustice against Palestinians within the prison system.

ACRI insists that every decision on providing medical treatment, including feeding or nourishing a person, must be made by an independent medical team and in accordance with the Patient’s Rights Law, which forbids providing medical treatment to a person without their willful and knowing agreement.

In the case of detainees, a hunger strike is a legitimate form of protest and should therefore be respected in accordance with both the right to protest and the right to physical autonomy. The Israeli Cabinet’s decision to permit routine violation of both rights in regard to largely Palestinian prisoners underscores the blatant injustice inherent in the system of ‘administrative detention,’ one of the more egregious offenses committed through military rule in the occupied territories.

Note: the picture above is not necessarily the exact equipment used to force feed Palestinian prisoners, but the equipment used in American cases.

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Categories: Democracy and Civil Liberties, Forced Hospitalization, The Occupied Territories, Use of Force

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