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14 July 2017 | Interviews | Resisting neoliberalism | Human rights | Gender | Social activists at risk
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The Union of Palestinian Women´s Committees (UPWC) is protesting the administrative detentions, for three and six months respectively, of their chair, Khitam Saafin and MP Khalida Jarrar, of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP, which Israel deems to be a terrorist organization).
Saafin is also part of the International Committee of the World March of Women, a network of feminist organizations at global level.
The two leaders were arrested by the occupation forces of the Israel Army on July 2nd in their respective homes in Ramallah, West Bank. They were taken to a detention center, where they were confined to a small cell with no windows for four hours. Then they were transferred to the HaSharon prison.
According to information by Mundubat, a Basque organization, which works with communities of the Global South in their development and social transformation challenges and in defense of human rights, Jarrar is currently playing an important role in the commission that aims to take Israel to the International Criminal Court.
This would be the real reason behind the detention of the politician and activist, who is also part of the board of human rights association Addameer, supporting Palestinian prisoners.
Meanwhile, Saafin is renowned for her struggle in favor of women´s rights and has participated in many international spaces, where she has made visible the work of Palestinian women for freedom, and their resistance as women in defense of their rights against Israeli occupation.
The UPWC believes that Saafin and Jarrar detentions are a form of punishment by Israel authorities for the work the leaders carry out in defense of the human rights of the Palestinian people and for denouncing at international level the constant violations suffered by the civilian population and prisoners.
According to news agency EFE, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO, a political group created in 1964 to defend the rights of the Palestinian people and represent refugees who fled the country after the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 and its expansion policies), states that currently there are 13 Palestinian MPs and 55 women held in Israeli prisons.
Real World Radio, through our colleague Abeer Al Butmeh, of PENGON-Friends of the Earth Palestine, interviewed executive director of the UPWC, Najwa Kawarik, who condemned the detentions of Saafin and Jarrar.
She stated that their main demand is the immediate release of the activists, among other things because there are no charges filed against them and because these are illegal detentions according to humanitarian international laws. In fact, she demanded the release of all Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli prisons, who recently carried out a prolonged hunger strike demanding their rights.
Kawarik believes that the leaders arrested are civilians in a conflict zone who should be protected. She considers them war prisoners and demanded respect for international laws, especially the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the protection of civilians in time of war.
The feminist activist said that they have sent letters to governments and the Red Cross International Committee. She believes the United Nations needs to take on its role to defend civilians around the world and demanded the international community to express solidarity and to make visible the social and political reality in her country caused by the occupation and actions of Israel. This State needs to be held accountable for violating international regulations and for the Apartheid regime against the Palestinian people, she demanded.
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