Last updated: 16 February, 2013

EU urges Israel to respect hunger strikers’ rights

The European Union on Saturday called on Israel to respect its human rights obligations towards Palestinian prisoners, saying it was concerned about the condition of four detainees on a long-term hunger strike.

The European Union is “following with concern” the worsening health conditions of Samer Assawi, Jaafar Ezzedine, Ayman Sharawneh and Tareq Qaadan, who are all staging long-term hunger strikes, the bloc’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement.

“The EU calls on the government of Israel to allow for the immediate restoration of their family visiting rights and calls for the full respect of international human rights obligations towards all Palestinian detainees and prisoners,” she said.

Palestinian prisoner affairs minister Issa Qaraqe said in a statement on Saturday that Israel was responsible for the prisoners’ well-being.

Qaraqe said that president Mahmud Abbas was holding intense talks with world leaders to prevent a possible “disaster.”

“The Palestinian people will not stand by in face of what is happening in the prisons,” Qaraqe warned.

The comments came a day after clashes erupted in the occupied West Bank as thousands of Palestinian demonstrators staged protests in support of the four.