Female Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons are treated inhumanely and often denied medical care, legal representation, and forced to live in squalid conditions, including sharing cells with insects, particularly cockroaches as well as rodents and overflowing sewage in the cells. Recently, Fabrizia Falcione, a women’s human rights officer for the United Nations development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), stated that it is critical to reveal the human face behind this breach of international law and international humanitarian law.
Since 1967, more than 700,000 Palestinians have been arrested or detained in Israeli prisons and detention centers. Approximately 10,000 of these prisoners were women. The reason behind the detainment: being a part of the Palestinian legislative council, a group which has been banned by Israelis. In this Facione states that, “The plight of female prisoners is worse than men. The situation, condition and violations faced by women in jails in Israel needs to be addressed from a gender perspective.” Women require medical attention regularly, which is their right during confinement as recognized by CEDAW [the Committee of the Elimination of Discrimination against Women]. This lack of medical care the women are receiving includes little to no medical attention during childbirth. The women are shackled and often disregarded during the birthing process.
Throughout the jails, many other laws and regulations are broken, including the disregard for women’s religious customs and beliefs as well as the housing of untried women with convicted prisoners. A violation of rule 85 of the United Nations standard minimum rues for the treatment of prisoners that says, “Untried prisoners shall be kept separate from convicted prisoner.”
Title: Palestinian women Prisoners Shackled during Childbirth
Author: Mehru Jaffer
Source: The Electronic Intifada, 11 March 2011
Student Researcher: Kaitlyn Vargas, Sonoma State University
Faculty Advisor: Diana Grant, Sonoma State University