|PCHR Concludes Conference in Solidarity with Palestinian Prisoners in Cairo|
|Written by PCHR|
|Tuesday, 15 May 2012 00:00|
On 14 May 2012, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) concluded a conference in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners. This conference was organized in cooperation with the Arab Organization for Human Rights (AOHR) and the Egyptian Journalists' Syndicate (EJS) in the EJS offices in Cairo. This conference is part of support and mobilization activities organized in support of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.
The conference was aimed at introducing the cause of Palestinian and Arab prisoners detained in Israeli jails and to highlight the suffering endured by them and by their families, which undermined the ability of Palestinian prisoners and the ability of their families to be steadfast against the Israeli occupation.
Members of Palestinian prisoners' families and ex-prisoners participated in the conference. These participants gave live statements about the suffering of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and about the suffering of prisoners' families. In addition, a number of public and official figures, representatives of international and Arab human rights organizations, representatives of political parties, parliament members, experts, media professionals and writers from Egypt and other Arab countries participated in the conference.
This conference coincided with the declaration of an agreement reached between Palestinian prisoners who have been on hunger strike and the Israeli prison authorities. During the conference, Raji Sourani, Director of PCHR, announced that Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike ended their hunger strike. This announcement was welcomed by the participants and by families of prisoners in the conference.
Sameh Ashour, President of the Egypt Bar Association and Director of the Arab Lawyers Union, spoke in the conference and said that it is not only the Israeli occupation that has an ugly face, but it is also the international community that adopts a double standard strategy and the defeatist Arab regimes that fail to support Palestinians.
In his speech, the Ambassador of Palestine to Egypt and the Permanent Representative of Palestine to the Arab League, Barakat al-Farra, stressed that it is very important to provide continuous support to Palestinian prisoners. He called upon all parties to provide all possible assistance, without restricting such assistance to certain events.
Raji al-Sourani, Director of PCHR, reviewed the harsh conditions which pushed the Palestinian prisoners towards going on open hunger strike. He called for daily support, not seasonal support, for prisoners. Sourani stressed that it is important to open international investigations into detention conditions in Israeli jails and into violations committed against Palestinian prisoners. He also emphasized that Palestinians and Arabs must exert efforts to take the cause of Palestinian prisoners to the UN General Assembly and seek a resolution on the legal status of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.
Hisham Younis, Member of the Board of ESJ, praised Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails for their resistance and persistence on meeting all of their demands. AOHR Secretary General, Alaa Shalabi, reviewed efforts currently exerted to internationalize the cause of Palestinian prisoners and to address this cause at all levels.
Secretary General of the Arab Lawyers Union, Omar Zain, described actions taken against prisoners in Israeli jails to be a racist war. He called upon the International Committee of the Red Cross, the UN Human Rights Council, UN bodies and all international organizations to intervene in order to save Palestinian prisoners from slow death and negligence.
Lawyer Fadwa al-Barghouthi, the wife of a Palestinian prisoner, Marwan al-Barghouthi, reviewed the efforts that have been exerted for 10 years to internationalize the cause of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. She appreciated the efforts exerted by Egyptian human rights organizations. Al-Barghouthi called upon the Arab League to adopt a permanent Arab action plan to support the cause of Palestinian prisoners.
The mother of a Palestinian prisoner, Ibrahim Baroud, talked about the suffering of many Palestinian prisoners who have spent more than 30 years in Israeli jails. She explained that in the past 15 years, she has been able to visit her son in Israeli jails only twice, noting that her son is sentenced to 27 years of imprisonment.
Fuad al-Razen, a former prisoner, noted that the international law guarantees the right to family visitation and many other prisoners' rights. He noted that Israel denies Palestinian prisoners access to their fundamental rights. Al-Razen also explained that the rights that prisoners are currently enjoying were grabbed through hunger strikes.
Mutasem al-Shawa, from Palestine Section in the Arab League, read during the conference a report on resolutions issued by the Arab League to internationalize the cause of prisoners.
On the sidelines of the conference, families and ex-prisoners in Israeli jails held a series of meetings, including a meeting with the Deputy Secretary General of the Arab League, Ahmed Ben Helli, in the presence of Raji al-Sourani. In this meeting, prisoners' families explained in detail the suffering that they and their relatives in Israeli jails endure. Mr. Ben Helli in turn talked about efforts exerted by the Arab League in this area and promised of a new stage of effective and serious actions in this area.
Today morning, 15 May 2012, prisoners' families and PCHR Deputy Director Jaber Wishah met with President of the Arab Parliament Ali Adaqbasi in the Headquarters of the Arab League. During the meeting, Wishah called upon the Arab Parliament to pay a special attention to the cause of Palestinian prisoners. He proposed the formation of a committee in the Arab Parliament to follow up the issue of prisoners. Prisoners' families talked about their experiences and about the suffering they and their relatives in prisons have been enduring. Mr. Adaqbasi welcomed Wishah's proposal and invited the Palestinian delegation to attend the sessions of the Arab Parliament and to follow up the tasks that will be implemented by the committee to be formed in order to follow up the issue of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. Adaqbasi promised to take necessary action to internationalize the cause of prisoners, and stressed that the Arab Parliament supports Palestinian prisoners and their families.
The Palestinian delegation will hold more meetings. They will meet today with members of the Egyptian Parliament and with members of the Egyptian Parliament's human rights committee and political committee.
It should be noted that the visit of the Palestinian prisoners' families to Egypt and the meetings that they held were well covered by the print, audio and visual media.
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