Immediately following the escape of six Palestinian political prisoners from the high-security Gilboa Prison, on 6 September 2021, Israeli Prison Services (IPS) and occupying forces (IOF) began instituting a series of collective, punitive, retaliatory, and arbitrary measures against Palestinian political prisoners incarcerated in Israeli prisons, over 4,700 prisoners, and targeting Palestinian protected persons residing in the occupied Palestinian territory.

The gross collective penalties include, inter alia, the mass forcible transfer and interrogation of prisoners, the lockdown of all Israeli prison sections holding Palestinian political prisoners and the institution of arbitrary reprisals and punitive measures, the erection of increased arbitrary checkpoints throughout the oPt, violent raids by IOF on Palestinian towns and villages, and the assault, arbitrary detention, and interrogation against family members of the escaped prisoners. Most prominently, such measures violate the absolute prohibition of collective punishment in international humanitarian law and jus cogens, most clearly enshrined in Article 33(1) of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

In light of escalating reprisals, the Palestinian Human Rights Organization Council,[1] the Palestinian NGO Network,[2] the Palestinian Commission for Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Club, and Inaash Al-Ausurah Association submitted a joint urgent appeal on 9 September 2021 to UN Special Procedures expressing grave concern regarding the collective punishment of all Palestinian prisoners and protected persons; urging third-party intervention.

The joint urgent appeal further reiterated Addameer’s call, in a letter sent to the head mission of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Jerusalem on 7 September 2021, on the ICRC to monitor the transfer of the remaining Palestinian prisoners in Gilboa Prison, and follow up with the relevant occupying authorities to provide information confirming the location of the transferred prisoners, as well as to inform the prisoners’ relatives of their whereabouts. In the latter, Addameer further called upon the ICRC to safeguard the rights of all Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons from arbitrary, retaliatory, and collective punishment.

Furthermore, on 9 September 2021, the above-mentioned organizations sent letters to relevant State parties warning that in the absence of third-party supervision of IPS policies, the rights of Palestinian prisoners will continue to be violated with impunity, and the gravity of the situation will only increase. The letters further called on State parties to fulfill their obligations as High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention towards protecting human rights and enforcing the implementation of international humanitarian law.

See attached joint urgent appeal to the UN Special Procedures.



[1] Comprising of 11 Palestinian human rights organizations, including Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association Al Haq, Law in the Service of Mankind, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, DCI - Defense for Children International – Palestine, Jerusalem Legal Aid, and Human Rights Center, Aldameer Association for Human Rights, Ramallah Center for Human Rights Studies, Hurriyat - Center for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights, The Independent Commission for Human Rights (Ombudsman Office ) - Observer Member, and Muwatin Institute for Democracy and Human Rights - Observer Member

[2] A network of 142 Palestinian civil society organizations