The International Community Must Support and Protect Palestinian Civil Society

In Arab Countries, International Advocacy Program by CIHRS

As a group of 242 regional and international organizations, we express our full solidarity with Palestinian civil society and human rights defenders as Israel continues to escalate its attacks to shut down critical human rights work and silence opposition to its occupation of Palestinian territory and apartheid over the Palestinian people as a whole. We urge the international community to take all necessary action to support and protect Palestinian civil society and human rights defenders and ensure the continuation of their invaluable work.

On 19 October 2021, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz designated six leading Palestinian civil society organizations as terrorist organizations, including Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Al-Haq Law in the Service of Man (Al-Haq), Bisan Center for Research and Development, Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCI-P), the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC).

The Israeli government has continued to intensify its attacks on independent Palestinian human rights organizations and their staff, who regularly face smear campaigns, spurious accusations of links to terrorism as well as threats and intimidation, travel bans and movement restrictions, and arrest for their work. Independent Israeli and international organizations have also been targeted by Israel for their work documenting and advocating against Israel’s human rights violations. Israel’s actions clearly follow the pattern set by authoritarian states in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and around the world.

This unprecedented designation is merely the latest escalation in Israel’s widespread and systematic institutionalized campaign that has aimed to silence and discredit any Palestinian individual or organization that dares seek accountability for Israel’s grave human rights violations, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. The “persecution of organizations and persons, by depriving them of fundamental rights and freedoms, because they oppose apartheid” is one of the methods used by Israel to maintain its domination and oppression over the Palestinian people.

On 18 October 2021, the Israeli Interior Minister announced the official revocation of the Jerusalem residency status of Palestinian-French human rights defender and lawyer Salah Hammouri based on “breach of allegiance” to the State of Israel, opening the way for more widespread use of residency revocation on this basis, putting thousands of Palestinians in Jerusalem at risk of arbitrary and punitive measures leading to their forcible transfer.

UN experts condemned the designations of the six NGOs as terrorist organizations “a frontal attack on the Palestinian human rights movement, and on human rights everywhere” and called upon the international community to “defend the defenders.” The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called on Israel to revoke the designations, affirming that “claiming rights before a UN or other international body is not an act of terrorism, advocating for the rights of women in the occupied Palestinian territory is not terrorism, and providing legal aid to detained Palestinians is not terrorism”. The designation has also been condemned by other international actors, including members of the US House of Representatives, European Parliamentarians as well as international civil society.

The designation presents a challenge to the international community, especially democratic states that speak out and support independent human rights organizations and defenders in other parts of the world. Remaining silent is insufficient given the urgent support and protection needs of the six organizations that are now at an additional risk of raids, confiscation of property and materials, closure of bank accounts, arrest of staff members, and closure of their offices. Israel’s attacks against these organizations pose an existential threat to independent Palestinian human rights organizations and civil society who work to monitor and document violations of human rights and provide basic services to the Palestinian people.

We call upon the international community to publicly condemn and reject Israel’s designation of Palestinian human rights and civil society organizations as “terrorist organizations” as an internationally wrongful act, to call for Israel to immediately rescind the designation, and to demand Israel repeal its Anti-Terrorism Law (2016) as it does not meet basic human rights standards and to end all other actions that deny Palestinians their inalienable human rights. We also urge members of the international community to publicly show support for the six organizations and Palestinian civil society at large.

Further, the international community, especially the European Union and its member states who are key supporters of and donors to Palestinian civil society, should ensure that banks and financial institutions in their jurisdiction are notified Israel’s designation of Palestinian organizations is unfounded and inapplicable.

Signatories:

  1. 11.11.11
  2. Abna Al-Quds Club
  3. Action for Change and Democracy in Algeria
  4. AFKAR for Educational & Cultural Development
  5. Agir pour le Changement et la Démocratie en Algérie (ACDA)
  6. Al Ataa Charitable Society
  7. Albanian Human Rights Group
  8. Al Dameer Association for Human Rights
  9. Al-Haq, Law in the Service of Man
  10. Al Karmel Culture and Social Development Association
  11. Al-Marsad Arab Human Rights Center in Golan Heights
  12. Al Mezan Center for Human Rights
  13. Altawasol Forum Society
  14. Aman Organization Against Discrimination
  15. ANSWER Coalition
  16. Applied Research Institute-Jerusalem
  17. Arab Canadian Lawyers Association
  18. Arab Center for Agricultural Development
  19. Artists for Palestine UK
  20. Asha Parivar
  21. Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
  22. Asociación Paz con Dignidad
  23. Association Africaine de Défense droit de l’Homme (ASADHO)
  24. Association Belgo-Palestinienne WB
  25. Association des Magistrats Tunisiens
  26. Association des Universitaires pour le Respect du Droit International en Palestine (AURDIP)
  27. Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS)
  28. Association Internationale de Soutien aux Prisonniers Politiques
  29. Association Nachaz
  30. Association pour le Droit à la Différence (ADD)
  31. Association Tunisienne des Femmes Démocrates
  32. Association Tunisienne de Soutien des Minorités
  33. Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children
  34. Australia Palestine Advocacy Network
  35. Australian Centre for International Justice
  36. Bait Lahia Youth Association Center
  37. BankTrack – Netherlands
  38. Basma Society for Culture and Arts
  39. Basmeh & Zeitooneh
  40. Baytna
  41. Beity
  42. Belady Foundation for Human Rights
  43. BDS País Valencià
  44. Broederlijk Delen
  45. Bytes For All
  46. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
  47. Canada Palestine Association
  48. Canadian BDS Coalition
  49. Canadians for Peace and Justice in Kashmir
  50. Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME)
  51. Canada Palestine Friendship Society
  52. Carleton University Students for Justice in Palestine
  53. Catholics for Justice and Peace in the Holy Land
  54. Center for Civil Liberties
  55. Center for Constitutional Rights
  56. Center for Defense of Liberties & Civil Rights (Hurryyat)
  57. Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR)
  58. Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO)
  59. Central Blood Bank Society
  60. Coalition of African Lesbians
  61. Committee on the Administration of Justice (Northern Ireland)
  62. Community Empowerment and Social Justice Network (CEMSOJ)
  63. Community Media Center
  64. Conectas Direitos Humanos
  65. Confederación Intersindical Galega (CIG)
  66. Congregations of St. Joseph
  67. Citizen News Service (CNS)
  68. Citoyenneté, Développement, Cultures et migrations des deux Rives
  69. CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
  70. CNCD-11.11.11
  71. Collectif des Familles de Disparus en Algérie (CFDA)
  72. Cooperazione Internazionale Sud Sud (CISS)
  73. Cultura è libertà una campagna per la Palestina
  74. De-Colonizer
  75. Defence for Children International – Italy
  76. DefendDefenders (East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project)
  77. Defender Center for Human Rights
  78. Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN)
  79. docP – BDS Netherlands
  80. Dominican Sisters of Blauvelt, NY
  81. Dr. Haider Abdel Shafi Center for Culture & Development
  82. Edmonton Run for Palestine
  83. European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine (ECCP)
  84. European Legal Support Center (ELSC)
  85. European Trade Union Network For Justice in Palestine (ETUN)
  86. Fares Arab Foundation for Development
  87. FIAN International
  88. Finnish-Arab Friendship Society
  89. Free Gaza Australia
  90. Fundación Mundubat
  91. Gaza Action Ireland
  92. General and Autonomous Confederation of Workers in Algeria (CGATA)
  93. General Confederation of the Portuguese Workers (CGTP-IN)
  94. Gibanje za pravice Palestincev
  95. Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  96. Grassroots AlQuds
  97. Groupe LOTUS
  98. Grup de Suport a Juani Rishmawi
  99. Gruppo Ibriq per la cultura e la causa Palestinese
  100. Hassan El Saadawi Association for Democracy and Equality
  101. Human Rights and Democracy Center (SHAMS)
  102. Human Rights Commission of Pakistan
  103. International Accountability Project
  104. International Association for the Support of Political Prisoners
  105. International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)
  106. International Commission to Support Palestinian Rights
  107. International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
  108. International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific (IWRAW AP)
  109. Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign
  110. Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU)
  111. Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD)
  112. Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) – Finland
  113. Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) – Germany
  114. Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions UK
  115. Jabalia Rehabilitation Society
  116. Joussour De Citoyenneté
  117. Jurists without Chains
  118. Justice for Iran
  119. Justitia Center for Legal Protection of Human Rights in Algeria
  120. Kairos Ireland
  121. Kairos Sabeel Netherlands
  122. Kenya Human Rights Commission
  123. Land Research Center
  124. Leadership Team of the Dominican Sisters and Associates of Racine, WI
  125. League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI)
  126. Lebanese Center for Human Rights
  127. Libya Al-Mostakbal
  128. Libyan Center for Freedom of the Press
  129. Libyan Network for Legal Aid
  130. Libyan Women’s Platform for Peace
  131. Ligue Algérienne de Défense des Droits de L’homme
  132. Ligue des droits de l’Homme
  133. Ligue Suisse des Droits de l’Homme – Genève
  134. MA’AN Development Center
  135. MADRE – USA
  136. Maine Voices for Palestinian Rights
  137. Makan
  138. MakeShiftPublishing BV
  139. Manushya Foundation
  140. Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
  141. MENA Rights Group
  142. Mwatana for Human Rights
  143. Nā Pua Kūʻē – Hawaiʻi Dissenters
  144. National Autonomous Union of Public Administration Staff (SNAPAP)
  145. National Fisheries Solidarity
  146. National Syndicate of Tunisian Journalists (SNJT)
  147. Netherlands Palestine Committee
  148. Niagara Movement for Justice in Palestine-Israel (NMJPI)
  149. NOVACT
  150. New Weapons Research Group onlus
  151. Oakville Palestinian Rights Association
  152. Odhikar
  153. One Justice
  154. Organisation 23_10 d’Appui au Processus de Transition Démocratique
  155. Österreichische Liga für Menschenrechte
  156. Our Revolution Northern Virginia (ORNOVA)
  157. Palestina Solidariteit vzw
  158. Palästina Spricht
  159. Palestinakomiteen i Larvik-Sandefjord
  160. Palestine Solidarity Alliance of South Africa
  161. Palestine Solidarity Campaign – Britain (England, Wales, and Scotland)
  162. Palestine Solidarity Campaign – Gauteng (Johannesburg)
  163. Palestine Solidarity Campaign – Cape Town
  164. Palestinian Solidarity Group at Mount Holyoke College
  165. Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs (PASSIA)
  166. Palestinian Assembly for Liberation
  167. Palestinian Children in Israeli Military Prisons (PIM)
  168. Palestinian Counseling Center
  169. Palestinian Youth Movement
  170. Pax Christi Flanders
  171. Pax Christi USA
  172. PeaceWomen Across the Globe
  173. Plan International – Jordan
  174. Platform of French NGOs for Palestine
  175. Portuguese League for Human Rights – Civitas
  176. Princeton Committee on Palestine
  177. Project48
  178. Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice
  179. Racial Literacy Groups
  180. Réseau International des Droits Humains (RIDH)
  181. Rumbo a Gaza
  182. Salaam Ragazzi dell’Olivo, Comitato di Trieste
  183. Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
  184. Sareyyet Ramallah
  185. Sexual Rights Intiative
  186. Sheffield Labour Friends of Palestine
  187. Sinistra Italiana
  188. Socialist Party (India)
  189. SOLSOC
  190. South African BDS Coalition
  191. South African Jews for a Free Palestine (SAJFP)
  192. SumOfUs
  193. Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM)
  194. Syrians for Truth and Justice (STJ)
  195. Syrian Justice and Accountability Center (SJAC)
  196. The Community Action Center at Al-Quds University
  197. The Cultural Forum Center
  198. The Culture and Free Thought Association
  199. The National Society for Democracy and Law
  200. The Palestine Committee of Norway
  201. The Palestine Project
  202. The Palestinian Developmental Women Studies Association (PDWSA)
  203. The Palestinian Human Rights Organization (PHRO)
  204. The Rights Forum
  205. The Society of Women Graduates
  206. Toronto Palestine Film Festival
  207. Trade Union Friends of Palestine
  208. Transnational Institute
  209. Trócaire
  210. Tunisian Association of Defending Individual Liberties (ADLI)
  211. Tunisian Association of the Democratic Women (ATFD)
  212. Tunisian Youth Movement in Germany
  213. UK-Palestine Mental Health Network
  214. Union Aid Abroad APHEDA
  215. Union Juive Française pour la Paix (UJFP)
  216. Union Syndicale Solidaires
  217. United Network for Justice and Peace in Palestine – Israel
  218. Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights
  219. USA Palestine Mental Health Network
  220. Visualizing Palestine
  221. Viva Salud
  222. WESPAC Foundation, Inc.
  223. Women Against Violence
  224. Women in Black Vienna
  225. Women Now For Development
  226. Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling (WCLAC)
  227. Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)
  228. Women’s Studies Centre
  229. Youth Development Association (YDA)
  230. Youth for Tawergha
  231. Zochrot
  232. Committee for the Respect of Liberties and Human Rights in Tunisia
  233. Just Peace Advocates
  234. Business and Human Rights Resource Center (BHRRC)
  235. Egyptian Front for Human Rights
  236. Palestine Link
  237. Riposte International
  238. Belgian Campaign for an Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
  239. We Network
  240. Fagforbundet
  241. Associació Hèlia
  242. EuroMed Rights

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