Families of hunger strikers shut down U.N. office in Ramallah

May 17 (UPI) — Families of detainees involved in a hunger strike shut down the U.N. office in Ramallah, West Bank, on Wednesday, a Jordanian news agency reported.

They are calling for the United Nations to intervene to resolve a monthlong hunger strike of about 1,000 Palestinians held in Israeli jails. About half the detainees have been held in administrative detention, a legal situation involving imprisonment without charges, trial, conviction or meaningful due process, U.N. Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk said in a statement.

“Israel’s use of administrative detention is not in compliance with the extremely limited circumstances in which it is allowed under international humanitarian law, and deprives detainees of basic legal safeguards guaranteed by international human rights law,” Lynk said.

He added that many of the 6,000 Palestinians held by Israel are in prisons within Israel and not in the West Bank or in Gaza, a contravention of the International Humanitarian Law; the prisoners’ location discourages family visits because of the difficulty in obtaining permits to enter Israel.

The families of hunger strike inmates gathered Wednesday at the U.N. office in Ramallah for a sit-in and protest, and prevented staff from entering the building. They carried Palestinian flags and signs critical of alleged U.N. bias toward Israel, Jordan’s Petra News Agency said.

They called for a U.N. General Assembly emergency session to discuss the strike, as well as alleged Israeli attempts to force feed prisoners on hunger strikes, another violation of international law.

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