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The sorry plight of female Palestinian prisoners in Israel: rats and shackles


Summary of story from IPS, 11.3.11

Female Palestinian prisoners detained in Israel are often denied legal representation and medical care and housed in squalid conditions that can include sharing cells with rodents, and over-flowing sewage.

According to Fabrizia Falcione, project manager for the Women Human Rights Unit at UN Women,  it is crucial to reveal the human face behind this breach of international law  in order to address the plight of Palestinian political prisoners, including women and children.

Since 1967, more than 700,000 Palestinians have been arrested or detained in Israeli prisons and detention centres. Approximately 10,000 of these prisoners were women.

Today, 37 female Palestinian prisoners continue to be held in Israeli prisons – out of a total of about 7,500 inmates. The reason is primarily political – most of the prisoners are members of the Palestinian Legislative Council.

Falcione’s work includes providing legal aid and representation to female prisoners, psychosocial support to family members of prisoners, and preparation for release and reintegration of prisoners into family and society.

This week Falcione participated in the first international meeting of its kind organised by the United Nations to focus on the question of Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli detention.

WVoN editor’s note: She answers questions for IPS and you can see her full answers on their site, but this part particularly struck me:

“Pregnant women are shackled while giving birth, and soon after. There is a total lack of medical care, particularly during childbirth. Women lament that infants born to them are taken away after two years. In Israeli prisons, the rights of Palestinian women prisoners are recognised, but not respected.”

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