Al-Haq urges UN experts to protect human rights directors threatened with arrest by ‘Israel’

Shawan Jabarin, director of the al-Haq human rights group, at the organization’s offices in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021

Ramallah (QNN)- Al-Haq, a Palestinian human rights organization, sent an appeal on Sunday to UN Special Procedures urgently demanding that the international community immediately take “targeted and effective action” to protect human rights directors threatened with arrest by ‘Israel’.

On 18 August 2022, at approximately 3:00 am, Israeli occupation forces (IOF) entered Ramallah, targeting, forcibly entering, raiding the offices of the six designated Palestinian civil society organisations Al-Haq, Addameer, the Bisan Center for Research & Development, Defence for Children International-Palestine (DCI-P), Union of Agricultural Workers Committees (UAWC), and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC). Private property and information was seized from three of these organizations by the IOF, and the office of the Health Workers Committees was also raided. The organisations had been designated by ‘Israel’ under its Counter Terrorism Law, 2016, and under military order of 3 November 2021, as “terrorist” and “unlawful associations”.

Last Thursday, 18 August, following a decision by Benny Gantz, the military order has taken full effect in the occupied Palestinian territories, whereupon Yehuda Fox, the Israeli military commander, led an armed incursion into Ramallah to forcibly close the six organisations, “in an attempt to quash the work of human rights defenders, in serious violation of the right to freedom of expression and association,” as the groups said.

Yesterday, 21 August, at 9:31 am, the Israeli occupation forces summoned the General Director of Al-Haq, Mr. Shawan Jabarin for interrogation at the Ofer Military Base, located near Ramallah. The caller, who introduced himself as Captain Fahed, informed Mr. Jabarin that ‘Israel’ and the Israeli army have declared Al-Haq to be an illegal entity and a terrorist organization that was shut down, stating that Israel will not allow the organization to remain open and functioning. The caller then falsely claimed that Al-Haq has ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and that Mr. Jabarin is one of its members.

The same day, at 14:25, lawyer and General Director of Defence for Children International, Palestine (DCI-P), Mr. Khaled Quzmar was summoned for interrogation at the Ofer military base by a Shin Beta agent. At 15:20 an eyewitness reported seeing Mr. Quzmar escorted into Shin Bet premises. Mr. Quzmar was not allowed to have legal counsel accompany him. At the time of writing the urgent appeal, he has been released.

Notably, in November-December 2021, Al-Haq sent two urgent appeals to the United Nations Special Procedures calling on the UN Special Rapporteurs to protect Palestinian human rights organizations and individuals.

The first urgent appeal, submitted on 16 November 2021, urged intervention on Israel’s campaign of mass surveillance against Palestinian Human Rights Defenders. The second urgent appeal submitted on 21 November 2021, brought by the SOAS Centre for Human Rights Law on behalf of the six designated organizations, provides a legal analysis of Israeli’s Counter-Terrorism Law of 2016 and concluded its blatant illegality concerning international human rights and humanitarian law.

“The situation has significantly deteriorated and the staff of the six designated organisations and the Health Work Committee are under grave and immediate risk of arbitrary arrest, prosecution on secret evidence, administrative detention, and appropriation of their financial and banking assets,” Al-Haq said in a Sunday statement, adding that the “human rights and humanitarian work of the organisations, is gravely threatened by these closures.”

Al-Haq urgently demanded the UN experts that the international community immediately “take targeted and effective action” to protect Jabarin and Quzmar.

Al-Haq also called on the international community to urge ‘Israel’ to immediately rescind the designations labelling the six organizations as ‘terrorist’, “which violates Palestinian freedoms of opinion and expression, and freedom of association, and amount to acts of apartheid prosecutable under Article 7(2)(h) of the Rome Statute.”

(Source / 22.08.2022)

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