Knesset Roundup | June 17

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Force Feeding Administrative Detainees

 

Draft Law: Prison Ordinances (Preventing Harm Resulting from Hunger Strikes) – 2014

Internal Affairs and Environment Committee

16-17/06/14 | Preparation for a Second & Third Reading

 

ACRI’s Position: ACRI opposes the force-feeding of prisoners who choose to conduct hunger strikes. Force-feeding hunger striking prisoners who are mentally competent, and who voluntarily refuse treatment, violates their rights to bodily autonomy and dignity and contravenes the fundamental rules of medical ethics. A broad coalition of bodies support ACRI in this view including the Israeli Medical Association, the Public Defenders Office, local and international human rights organizations and a cross-party coalition of Knesset members.
 
ACRI is especially concerned by the inclusion of extraneous considerations, such as national security and maintaining order on prison grounds, into the decision to force feed prisoners. The only factors that should be taken into account when considering treatment for prisoners, including the forcible provision of nourishment, are the prisoner’s medical condition and the dangers associated with treatment.
 
This bill, which is actually an amendment to the prison ordinances, is being promoted as a result of hunger strikes being waged by administrative detainees in order to protest the conditions of their detainment. The bill is being discussed in four consecutive committee meetings in an attempt to expedite approval by the full Knesset plenum in the coming week.
 
Additional Information
ACRI’s position paper on the topic of force-feeding administrative detainees.

Defining Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People

 

Basic Law: Israel – The Nation-State of the Jewish People

Ministerial Committee for Legislative Affairs

Sunday, 08/06/14 | Determining the Government’s Position

 

ACRI’s Position: The inclusion of a vague phrase, such as the “Jewish State”, in a binding clause of a basic law could open the door to a broad array of dangerous laws and policies that discriminate against non-Jewish citizens of Israel. Insomuch as this bill would give constitutional force to the understanding that the State of Israel is the realization of the aspiration of the Jewish people to political self-determination, there is a need to give expression to the rights of the Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality and the protection of their rights as an indigenous national minority.
 
The adoption of a constitutional definition for the state should be executed on the basis of broad civil consent, while considering the rights, needs and legitimate concerns of the different groups comprising the population. This does not negate the legitimate connections that can exist between religion, nationality and the state in other spheres – such as the social, cultural, emotional and symbolic spheres. However, in the constitutional-legal sphere, the principle of equality requires that these connections not distinguish between the rights of different citizens and their status in relation to the state based on their national or religious identity.
 
It was decided at the ministerial committee meeting that a sub-committee will be formed, headed by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, that will formulate a position on this bill and report back to the committee before submitting it to the full Knesset.
 
Additional Materials
An unofficial translation of the basic law under consideration.
ACRI’s position paper on the bill.

Sexual Violence Against Political Protesters

 

Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality

Monday, 16/06/14 | Committee Discussion

An earlier committee discussion on this issue took place in December 2013 wherein the organization ‘Sister’ (Achoti) presented evidence of violent conduct and degrading sexual harassment directed towards female activists and protesters by police forces. The subsequent committee session, that took place yesterday, was conducted in the presence of the Minister for Public Security who was summoned to address the claims.
 
ACRI’s Position: TACRI strongly supports the decision of the committee to confront this important issue. It is the responsibility of the police to safeguard the right to free expression and public protests, as well as to defend the dignity and safety of protesters. That these rights were violated by the police themselves is a particularly serious concern.
 
There are a number of steps that must be immediately adopted in order to eradicate this worrying phenomenon: appropriate and regular training must be maintained for police officers regarding the right to protest, women’s rights and sexual harassment; adequate preparation for public protests must be ensured, including requiring the presence of women officers in the case that arrests or searches of women protesters are required; and data on gender must be collected to facilitate the investigation of instances of violence against women.

Outsourced Employment in the Public Sector

 

Bill for Employment in Public Bodies (Amendment – Avoiding Outsourced Employment)

Ministerial Committee for Legislative Affairs

Sunday, 15/06/14 | Determining the Government’s Position

 

ACRI’s Position: ACRI supports this important bill to ensure an end to sub-contracting long-term positions in the public sector, and is operating to actively advance it through its membership in the National Coalition for Direct Employment. This bill aims to provide conditions that encourage direct employment for employees of public authorities in Israel. This bill would forbid public authorities – including government ministries, local authorities, public agencies and others – from employing sub-contracted workers on a regular basis, unless it is for work requiring specialized knowledge and expertise for which employing them within the public body would be unreasonable.
 
This bill was supported by members of every Knesset party (apart from one) and drafted in cooperation with the National Coalition for Direct Employment.

In the Spotlight:

 

The Migrant

A New Newsletter on Human Rights and Migration in Israel

Friday, June 13

 

‘The Migrant’ is a new quarterly publication on human rights and migration in Israel.
 
This new publication is committing to giving updates and sharing stories about important migrant rights issues that don’t receive the media attention they deserve in Israel or abroad.
 
In this edition – How are migrant workers treated like modern day slaves? * What ever happened to Kako – the stabbed baby? * And let’s talk numbers.
 
To receive this quarterly newsletter direct to your inbox – click here.

 

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Categories: Anti-Democratic Initiatives, Democracy and Civil Liberties, Forced Hospitalization, Freedom of Expression, Refugees and Asylum-Seekers, Women's Rights

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