An estimated 10,000 Palestinian women have been arrested and detained since 1967 under Israeli military orders, which govern nearly every aspect of life in the occupied Palestinian territory. As of 1 February 2011, 36 Palestinian women remain in Israel's prisons and detention centers, including 3 women in administrative detention. The two prisons in which Palestinian women are detained are located outside the 1967 occupied territory, in direct contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
The majority of Palestinian women prisoners are subjected to some form of torture or ill-treatment during their arrest, interrogation or detention, including beatings, insults, threats, intrusive body searches, sexual harassment and psychological abuse.
Furthermore, Israel's prisons lack a gender-sensitive approach and Palestinian women often suffer from harsh imprisonment conditions, including overcrowded cells that do not meet minimum health and hygiene requirements, medical negligence and lack of specialized health care, denial of education and denial of family visits.
To mark International Women's Day (8 March 2011) and Palestinian Prisoners' Day (17 April 2011), join us in calling for the immediate release of all Palestinian women political prisoners.
We, the undersigned members of worldwide civil society, are marking International Women's Day on 8 March 2011 and Palestinian Prisoners' Day on 17 April 2011 by calling on the Israeli authorities to immediately release all Palestinian women political prisoners and detainees from Israeli jails, including women in administrative detention. We condemn the cruel and discriminatory treatment that Palestinian women prisoners and detainees are subjected to during their arrest and interrogation and in prison, including sexual harassment, psychological and physical punishment and humiliation, and deprivation of gender-sensitive healthcare. This is in contravention of international law and must stop immediately.