Puerto Rico Human Rights Conference Resolution Supports Palestine and Palestinian Prisoners

The following resolution on Palestine was adopted by the Human Rights Conference held in San Juan, Puerto Rico from December 7-10, under the auspices of  the Comite ProDerechos Humanos de Puerto […]

derechos2The following resolution on Palestine was adopted by the Human Rights Conference held in San Juan, Puerto Rico from December 7-10, under the auspices of  the Comite ProDerechos Humanos de Puerto Rico and co-sponsored by the Puerto Rico Bar Association and other organizations.

The conference was dedicated to the memory of human rights attorney and independentista Juan Santiago Nieves, and organized for the purpose of supporting the international campaign for release of Puerto Rican political prisoner, Oscar Lopez Rivera, who has served over 31 years in U.S. prisons for his resistance to the U.S. colonial domination of his country.

Human Rights activists from the Puerto Rico, the United States, Latin America, and from the movement to end the occupation of Palestine, presented testimony about the struggles for justice in their countries and within their movements, and gave their unconditional support for the immediate release of Oscar Lopez Rivera. A unanimous resolution was passed by the conference plenary, calling on President Obama to exercise his constitutional pardon power to order the immediate release of Oscar Lopez Rivera.

In the midst of the Conference, elected officials from every electoral party convened a press conference to express the broad consensus on the island supporting his release, including the president of the mayors’ association and the president-elect of the Senate — who promised a resolution from the Senate supporting his release.

Participants included Al-Awda’s Lamis Deek and other human rights activists, including Michael Deutsch and Jan Susler of the People’s Law Office and the National Lawyers Guild. See other resolutions adopted by the conference here.  The conference passed the following resolution in support of Palestine and Palestinian political prisoners:


WHEREAS Israel was established in 1948 by European funded Zionist militias which employed racist violence against the native Palestinian People to cause their death, the destruction of over 450 cities and villages, and the expulsion of over 700,000 Palestinians from their original homes and lands;

WHEREAS Israel then implemented a series of laws aimed at dispossessing the Palestinians, preventing their return to their homes, and denying the basic rights of Palestinians who remained in the 1948 territories, for the purpose of creating an apartheid system under which Palestinians are denied the right to own property, to marry freely and be united with their families, in contravention of UN Resolution 194;

WHEREAS Israel has occupied the Gaza Strip and West Bank territories since the Six- Day War of 1967, immediately after which Israel began to erect settlements on the occupied lands of Gaza and the West Bank in contravention UN resolution 242;

WHEREAS the Government of Israel still maintains Israeli Occupation forces to continue and expand the dispossession, imprisonment and exile of the Palestinians so as to facilitate land confiscation by expansion of Israeli, “Jewish only” roads and settlements as part of its ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian People, and denies Palestinian Christians and Muslims access to houses of worship and deprives them of their rights to freedom of worship in violtion of the Geneva Conventions;

WHEREAS the Israeli government by way of continued dispossession, ethnic cleansing, siege, and violence continues to expel the Palestinian Population such that approximately two-thirds of the Palestinian are refugees, internally displaced, or live in exile;

WHEREAS the withdrawal of Israeli Occupation Forces and settlements from the Gaza Strip in August 2005 were followed by increased Israeli control of Gaza’s borders, sea and airspace, public utilities, the public registry, and Gaza’s internal economy, and in 2006 escalated to total blockade and siege on the Gaza Strip which according to the UN Report entitled, “Palestine 2020,” faces a grave humanitarian crisis, mass shortages of human food and health supplies and will become unlivable as a result of the Israeli blockade;

WHEREAS the Israeli Occupation Forces have continued to attack and bomb the Palestinian People, institutions and infrastructure in Gaza since 2006, with grave escalation of these attacks in December 2008 wherein over 1400 Palestinians were killed and again, beginning November 14 2012, for eight (8) days killing over 160 Palestinians, wounding hundreds more, and again destroying institutions only recently restored;

WHEREAS, Israel continues to abduct and currently holds over 4,600 Palestinians as political prisoners, including men, women and over 160 children, over half of whom have not been tried or otherwise tried by secret evidence in Military Tribunals,

WHEREAS, one out of every four Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza has been subject to political arrest or detention, including 40% of Palestinian men from the West Bank and Gaza, all of whom are subject to psychological and physical torture, as directed by a series of over 1500 Israeli military regulations in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and

WHEREAS, Palestinian Leaders and Legislative Council members including Ahmad Sa’adat and Marwan Barghouti, are systematically targeted for political arrest and imprisonment by the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority, and

WHEREAS, almost three-thousand (3,000) Palestinian Prisoners launched a hunger strike in April of 2012 demanding the end of administrative detention and dignified treatment of Political Prisoners, and five (5) prisoners remain on Hunger Strike including administrative detainees Ayman Sharawna, on hunger strike for 158 days, and Samir Al-Issawi, on hunger strike for 127 days; and

WHEREAS, political imprisonment has been one part of a deliberate strategy to deprive Palestinians of their leaders, educators, writers, journalists, clergy, unionists, and popular activists from all political orientations, as part of the dispossession and repression of the Palestinian Arab people in the interests of colonialism and occupation for over sixty years, including the denial of millions of Palestinian refugees’ right to return home, and

WHEREAS, there are numerous political prisoners in United States jails, veterans of Black, Puerto Rican, Latino, Arab, and other liberation movements, including Puerto Rican political prisoners struggling against U.S. colonialism, and Palestinian, Arab and Muslim political prisoners struggling against Israel’s colonialism, and

WHEREAS, the political imprisonment, military occupation, expansion of settlements and maintenance of Apartheid systems in all parts of Palestine is made possible by the billions of dollars in economic and military support as well as the vast political and diplomatic support given to Israel by the United States,

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that we condemn all manifestations of institutionalized racism and colonialism by the Israeli and American governments;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we call for the immediate freedom of all Palestinian political prisoners and detainees, held in U.S. and Israeli jails;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we call for an immediate end to the selective and predatory prosecutions of political activists in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Palestine;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we shall actively work for the immediate freedom of all political prisoners in U.S. jails, including the Oscar Lopez Rivera, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we uphold and recognize the inalienable right of Palestinians to resist occupation, oppression and massacres, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we call on the U.N. and people across the world to support the call for Academic, Cultural and Consumer Boycott Divestment and Sanctions against Israel for its repeated violations of International Law and its War Crimes against the Palestinian People;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we shall endeavor to issue statements, hold events and otherwise publicize the cases of Palestinian political prisoners and detainees, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we shall endeavor to support the struggles and organizing of Palestinian political prisoners, and the work of activists and organizations on the ground working for justice and freedom for Palestinian political prisoners, and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that we shall support, through events, statements, delegations and advocacy, the cause of freedom for which these thousands of prisoners are held – the right to self-determination, liberation and return for all Palestinians in exile and in all of historic Palestine.

In San Juan, Puerto Rico, December 10th, 2012.