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WHO urges Israel to protect health of hunger strikers

May 11, 2012 1:32 P.M. (Updated: May 13, 2012 4:38 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The World Health Organization on Friday called for immediate measures to protect the health of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike.

The world health body said in a statement it was "extremely concerned" about the health of prisoners and called on Israeli authorities to respect their fundamental rights.

WHO called on Israel to provide adequate medical care to prisoners in ill health, to transfer prisoners requiring treatment to hospital, to enable family visits, and not to provide medical treatment without the consent of prisoners.

It said one administrative detainee suffers from Thalessemia Major and is refusing life-saving blood transfusions as well as food. He has been held for over a year without charge.

A number of hunger strikers are reportedly being subjected to forced feeding, the WHO said.

The Prisoners Society said Friday that Israel is still refusing to transfer Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahla to hospital after 73 days on hunger strike.

The International Committee for the Red Cross on Monday warned that Halahla, Diab and four other long-term hunger strikers were in "imminent danger of dying" and called on Israel to transfer them to hospital.

Around 2,000 detainees are on hunger strike in Israeli jails protesting detention without charge, solitary confinement, restrictions on visits and limited access to education, rights groups say.
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