Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign
التضامن الإيرلندي الفلسطيني

[Limerick] IAW 2014: RANDA WAHBE on Palestinians & Israeli Prisons – Repression & Resistance in Apartheid’s Jails

As part of Israeli Apartheid Week 2014, on Tuesday 4th March the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign is honoured to present Randa Wahbe from Addameer, the Palestinian Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association. Ms. Wahbe will speak in Mechanics’ Institute, Hartstonge St, Limerick City at 7pm.

Some of the issues that Ms Wahbe will address in her talk will be:

– The issue of torture in Israeli prisons.
– Hunger strikes in Israeli prisons.
– Denial of prisoners rights and violations of international law in Israel’s prison system.
– Administrative detention – A form of internment without trial, which Amnesty says is used “to suppress the legitimate and peaceful activities of activists in the Occupied Palestinian Territories”.
– The 99.7% conviction rate for Palestinian security prisoners, tried before Israeli military (non-jury) courts “whose proceedings do not meet international standards for fair trial”, according to Amnesty.
– Child prisoners and the abuse of children within the system.
– The detention of Palestinian parliamentarians and civil society leaders.
– The Anglo-Danish security multinational G4S and its role in the Israeli prison system.

The Israeli prison system – part of the architecture of Apartheid.

Since the beginning of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories in 1967, between 750,000-800,000 Palestinians have been detained by the Israeli military. According to Amnesty, “many [have been] held incommunicado for prolonged periods”. This figure represents approximately 40% of the total male population in occupied Palestinian territory. At present, according to the latest available figures from Addameer (January 2014), there are over 5,000 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails, including 155 Administrative Detainees, 12 parliamentarians, 17 women and 154 children.

The issue of prisoners, particularly child prisoners, is one that is often overlooked in discussions around the Palestine-Israel issue, usually only mentioned when Israel releases prisoners as a so-called ‘goodwill gesture’. Yet the prisoners issue goes to the very heart of Israeli policy in Palestine – the decapitation of political movements, the criminalisation and ‘securitisation’ of young people who resist occupation, not to mention the psychological and traumatic effects detention and abuse has on young people who go through the prison system. Even NGOs who work with prisoners are targets of Israeli policy, with offices being raided and advocates themselves detained.

About the speaker

Randa Wahbe is a Palestinian-American working in Palestine on the issue of political prisoners and prisoner rights for Addameer (Arabic for conscience) Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association.

Addameer is a Palestinian non-governmental, civil institution that works to support Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli and Palestinian prisons. Established in 1992 by a group of activists interested in human rights, the center offers free legal aid to political prisoners, advocates their rights at the national and international level, and works to end torture and other violations of prisoners’ rights through monitoring, legal procedures and solidarity campaigns. Addameer believes in the importance of building a free and democratic Palestinian society based on justice, equality, rule of law and respect for human rights within the larger framework of the right to self-determination. Addameer’s work is based on a belief in the universality of human rights as enshrined in international law.

Addameer has been actively involved in the development of Palestinian civil society since its establishment. In particular, in its role as an executive member of the Palestinian NGO Network and the Palestinian Council of Human Rights Organizations, Addameer plays an important role in structuring the response of civil society to human rights violations, as well as directing strategies for increased community awareness. This has also placed the association in a unique position because of its strong commitment and relationship to the local community. Community involvement remains the backbone of the organization, in the form of volunteerism and support for all activities of the association and its campaigns. Addameer strives to be more than a service-oriented association, but rather a resource for the local and international community to address human rights violations. In that regard, Addameer also works closely with international human rights organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, OMCT and FIDH to provide regular information on the situation of Palestinian political detainees.

This event is organised by the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) as one of a series of events taking place around Ireland during international Israeli Apartheid Week 2013 (1st – 8th March). See the IAW 2014 page for a full list of events taking place around Ireland.

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