Preoccupying infringements on the freedom of expression and the protection of human rights organisations

05/02/2010
Press release
en fr

Dear Prime Minister,

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and its Canadian affiliate, the “Ligue des droits et libertés” , wish to express their strong and deep-seated concern about recent events and the ongoing crisis within the organisation Rights and Democracy.

Dear Prime Minister,

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and its Canadian affiliate, the “Ligue des droits et libertés”, wish to express their strong and deep-seated concern about recent events and the ongoing crisis within the organisation Rights and Democracy.

Several media have revealed comments and decisions taken by members of the Board of “Droits et Démocratie” which are damaging to the reputation of non-governmental organisations, such as Al-Haq and B’Tselem, which are both member associations of FIDH in the Palestinian Occupied Territorires and in Israel. One of the major issues, that is also a source of controversy, is the granting by Rights and Democracy of funds to these bodies which are considered to be “dubious” by some of its Board members. In addition, we are deeply preoccupied by allegations labelling these organisations or their members as “terrorists”.

Al-Haq and B’Tselem enjoy international recognition for their human rights work in Israel and in the Palestinian Occupied Territories.
Their leaders, including Shawan Jabarin, General Director of Al-Haq, a reputed international lawyer and fervent defender of human rights who is directly targeted by the diffamatory remarks, are well-known for their excellence as well as their serious and objective work in documenting the violations committed by the various actors involved in the Palestinian Territories. Their task is to protect the rights of all individuals, with no discrimination whatsoever. Al Haq, B’Tselem, as well as the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), the Public Committee Against Torture in Israël (PCATI) and Adalah have been members of FIDH for several years, and FIDH vouches for their very high standard of professionalism.

At the very time when this affair began in Canada, FIDH, together with its affiliates in Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem, Haïfa and Ramallah, carried out a fact-finding mission to Israel and to the Palestinian Territories on the implementation of recommendations from the Goldstone report. Once again, FIDH was reassured of the serious, professional and consistent approach of the work of Al-Haq and B’Tselem.

FIDH and its affiliate in Quebec, the “Ligue des Droits et Libertés, would like to publicly reiterate their support to Al-Haq and B’Tselem.

Furthermore, FIDH and the “Ligue des Droits et Libertés“ call, once again, on the Canadian governmental authorities to safeguard the independence of Rights and Democracy, in order to protect the organisation’s ability to pursue its mission free of any political interference, which is clearly not the case at the moment.

Yours truly,

Souhayr Belhassen
President
FIDH

Dominique Peschard
President
League of Rights and Liberties

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