Israeli, Palestinian NGOs seek EU help on hunger strikers

Updated 02 June 2014

Israeli, Palestinian NGOs seek EU help on hunger strikers

JERUSALEM: Palestinian and Israeli rights groups on Sunday wrote to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton demanding her “urgent intervention” on behalf of 125 prisoners on long-term hunger strike.
The letter was sent as the overall number of Palestinian prisoners refusing food climbed to 290, including 70 being treated in hospital, an Israel Prisons Service spokeswoman told AFP.
Of that number, 125 have been on hunger strike for more than five weeks, beginning their mass protest on or shortly after April 24, Palestinian rights groups say.
Most of the prisoners are administrative detainees who are refusing to eat in protest over their being held without trial in a procedure which can be extended indefinitely.
“We ... wish to bring to your attention the ongoing mass hunger strike involving approximately 125 Palestinian detainees and prisoners, and request your urgent intervention on their behalf,” said the letter, signed by 17 rights groups and the Palestinian prisoners’ affairs ministry.
“As of June 1, the majority of the hunger strikers have gone without food for 38 days.
“We have reached a critical stage and unless there is immediate intervention there will be dire consequences for the health of all those on strike,” it said.
Many had stopped taking vitamins and were only drinking water, it said, accusing Israel of withholding salt from them for the first fortnight of their strike.
The IPS denied the allegation, with spokeswoman Sivan Weizman telling AFP the detainees had been given “everything as required by law.”
About 5,000 Palestinians are being held in Israeli prisons, nearly 200 of them under administrative detention orders, which allow suspects to be jailed without trial for up to six months.
Such orders can be renewed indefinitely by a military court.


UAE cancels visa extension for expatriates

Updated 43 min 15 sec ago

UAE cancels visa extension for expatriates

  • The UAE’s decision to extend the validity of identity cards that expired on March 31 until December 31 was canceled
  • The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship will begin charging fees for its services starting July 12

DUBAI: The UAE Cabinet has revised its earlier regulations for residency visas of expatriates whose stay in the country was affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
UAE residents, whether they are in or outside the country, whose visas expired between March 1 and March 31 this year were given three months to renew their documents after the government took back its earlier decision to extend the validity until the end of December.
The UAE’s decision to extend the validity of identity cards that expired on March 31 until December 31 was also canceled.
The UAE Cabinet’s resolution took immediate effect.
“The decision came after the current situation was studied in detail to ensure that there were no negative effects or repercussions on various sectors,” state news agency WAM reported.
The decision linked to the validity of visas and entry permits for expats inside the UAE – starting March 1 to December of 2020 – will be removed, the report added.
The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship will begin charging fees for its services starting July 12.
The Cabinet also approved granting residents outside the UAE and with expired residency visa after March 1 – or those who have passed six months outside the state – a period to return to the UAE from the date of opening the airspace between both countries.
The Cabinet said the current services must be offered through electronic systems to facilitate and limit the crowding of customers.