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Israel, State of Palestine
Middle East & North Africa
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Palestine: International community must support and protect Palestinian civil society

Following the designation of six Palestinian CSO as terrorist organisations, the international community must support and protect and ensure a safe and enabling environment for Palestinian civil society and HRDs.

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

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