28 July 2015 – Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan E. Méndez, reiterated his call for Israeli authorities to stop the legalization of force-feeding and medical treatment of prisoners and detainees on hunger strike. The Special Rapporteur stressed that even when intended to benefit the health of the detainees, force-feeding induced by threats, coercion, force or use of physical restraints can be “tantamount to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.”
This call comes after the Israeli parliament moved to reconsider a proposed amendment Bill to the Prisons Act that would allow force-feeding and forced medical treatment of detainees regardless of their consent. This Bill is expected to primarily affect Palestinians held by Israel, including those in administrative detention.
Special Rapporteur Danius Pûras on the Right to Health has joined Méndez in emphasizing that “the way to end the hunger strikes is not to force feed hunger-strikers but to address the underlying human rights violations against which they are protesting, namely, the practice of administrative detention.” Both UN experts have urged the Government of Israel to consider resolving the hunger strikes through good faith dialogue, rather than resorting to coercive remedial measures that intentionally disregard the detainees’ consent.