Urgent Resolution on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders and Civil Society Organisations in Palestine

Brahim Guedich via Wikicommons

24 march 2022. The International Board of International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) adresses an Urgent Resolution on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders and Civil Society Organisations in Palestine.

Having regard to Israel’s institutionalised and ongoing smear campaign and attacks against the human rights community of Palestine, in order to deny Palestinians their right to freedom of assembly and association by criminalising civil society organizations that provide vital human rights work and social services.

Considering the grave potential impact of the actions of the Israeli Defence Minister in designating the six Palestinian human rights and civil society organisations: Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association (Addameer), Al-Haq Law in the Service of Man (Al-Haq), Bisan Center for Research and Development, Defence for Children International-Palestine (DCI-P), the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC), as “terrorist” organisations under its domestic Anti-Terror Law, 2016 and as “unlawful organisations” under military order in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Expressing fully support to the six organisations and independent human rights organisations who work on violations of human rights in Palestine bringing accountability for violations of international law in the ongoing occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) and apartheid against the Palestinian people as a whole.

Welcoming the decision of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to recognise the jurisdiction of the court in the OPT, as well as the ongoing investigation by the ICC into violations of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court committed during the occupation of the Palestinian territory by Israel.

Welcoming the historic report by the Special Rapporteur, which concludes that Israel is committing the crime of apartheid resorting to a wide range of repressive policies to subjugate and control Palestinians, including arbitrary detention, excessive use of force, torture, and collective punishment, persecution of human rights defenders and organisations, and structural violence preventing Palestinians’ full enjoyment of their human rights.

Noting states and state actors should be held responsible and accountable for breaches of international law, including violations of the Rome Statute, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, the Apartheid Convention, and other international treaty laws, as well as violations of customary international humanitarian, criminal and human rights law.

Recalling that states and state actors should be held responsible and accountable for any action aimed at harassing, oppressing, intimidating or obstructing by any means the work conducted by human rights defenders and civil society organisations, as well as the importance of preventing impunity for abuses of the state.

Strongly condemning Israeli policies, practices and laws designed to harass human rights defenders and civil society organisations, such as: arbitrary detention; torture and other ill-treatment; institutionalised hate speech and incitement; residency revocation; deportations; mass surveillance under use of Pegasus spyware of Israeli NSO group on mobile phones of Palestinian human rights workers and other forms of coercive or punitive measures that amount to violating basic principles of human rights.

Expressing grave concern at Israel’s discriminatory laws, policies and practices implemented and aimed at subjugating the Palestinian people and undermining the internationally recognised right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, such as administrative detention, forced transfer, collective punishment, pillage of natural resources, home demolition, residency revocation, torture and other forms of inhuman and degrading treatment that amount to human rights violations, war crimes and crimes against humanity, including apartheid.

Expressing concern at the actions of the international community, particularly the European Union, its institutions and member states in suspending funding to Palestinian human rights defenders and civil society organisations designated by Israel as “terrorist” organisations without any credible evidence, failing to recognise the Israeli actions as politically motivated and amounting to political persecution of human rights defenders and civil society organisations in the OPT, further enforcing a apartheid regime on the Palestinian people.

The FIDH Board at its meeting on March 24th, urges the State of Israel to:
- rescind the designations as acts which violate the freedoms of opinion and expression, and freedom of association, and amount to an acts of apartheid prosecutable under Article 7(2)(h) of the Rome Statute;
- repeal the Anti-Terror Law, 2016 which is effectively used to institutionalise the persecution of human rights defenders and entrench its colonial domination over the Palestinian people and their lands;
- immediately cease its systematic practices aimed at intimidating and silencing Palestinian human rights defenders, in breach of their right to freedom of expression, including through arbitrary detention, torture and other ill-treatment, institutionalised hate speech and incitement, residency revocation, deportations, and other forms of coercive or punitive measures;
- end laws, policies and practices that amount to the crime of apartheid against the Palestinian people and support investigations by the ICC to hold to account the individuals that have perpetrated human rights abuses, war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of apartheid against the Palestinian People.

The FIDH Board at its meeting on March 24th, urges the international community to:
- condemn the actions taken by the State of Israel in designating Palestinian Human Rights organisations Addameer, Al-Haq, Bisan Center for Research and Development, DCI-P, UAWC and UPWC as “terror” organisations under its domestic Anti-Terror Law, 2016; and as “unlawful organisations” under military order in the occupied Palestinian territory;
- call on Third States to pressure the Israeli Minister of Defence to rescind the “terror” designations of human rights defenders; and denounce the application of the Anti-Terror Law, 2016 to civil society organisations in the OPT as an overreaching of Israel’s domestic law to the OPT and incompatible with basic human rights standards;
- call on Third States and international funders to maintain their funding and support of the six Palestinian civil society organisations and to publicly declare their continuous support denouncing the smear campaign conduct against and the lack of evidence provided by the Israeli authorities;
- call on the UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while countering Terrorism, Ms. Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, to examine the compatibility of the Anti-Terror Law, 2016 with International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law;
- recognise the historic and ongoing human rights and humanitarian violations perpetrated by Israel against the Palestinian people within the OPT and Israel, including the ongoing apartheid against the Palestinian people;
- condemn these violations of international human rights, criminal and humanitarian law committed by Israel against Palestinians in the both the OPT and Israel;
- place sanctions against Israel for these ongoing violations and abuses of human rights. Decide in addition a ban on Israeli goods manufactured and produced in occupied territory, the suspension of all cooperation in the field of the fight against terrorism considering the abuse by Israel of the definition of terrorism, the suspension of the EU/Israel association agreement in application of the human rights clause and a halt on all military trade and cooperation with Israel;
- fully support the investigation of the ICC into violations of the Rome Statute within the context of the occupation of the OPT;
- request that the ICC investigates the actions, policies and laws implemented by Israel that may amount to the crime of apartheid as defined in both the Rome Statute and the Apartheid Convention, including the designations of the six organisations as acts of persecution and apartheid.

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