IFHHRO letter to the WMA about the proposed legalization of force-feeding in Israel

July 7, 2015

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Today, IFHHRO issued an open letter to the World Medical Association asking it to try to prevent the legalization of force-feeding of hunger-striking prisoners in Israel. The Bill was first introduced in the Israelian parliament, the Knesset, in 2014. Now it is being put on the agenda again.

After the reintroduction into the Knesset of the proposed amendment to the Prisons Act No 48, IFHHRO member Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-Israel), along with 18 international health and human rights organizations, appealed to the WMA to stop the bill, showing how it violated medical ethics, international treaties, as well as local and international legislation. Later in the same year, the World Medical Association published an urgent plea, urging the Prime Minister of Israel (Benjamin Netanyahu) to reconsider the proposed law. In a letter to Netanyahu this message was repeated in June of this year.

In concurrence with the IMA and the UN Special Rapporteurs on Torture and the Right to Health, it is PHR-Israel’s and IFHHRO’s position that there can be no justification whatsoever for the force-feeding of individuals contrary to their informed and voluntary consent. Moreover, compelling medical personnel to commit violations of international treaties and declarations, existing legislation and established medical ethics cannot help resolve a complex political issue.

IFHHRO therefore supports PHR-Israel’s call on the WMA to publicly denounce the bill once again and to issue urgent recommendations to the State of Israel.