Statement: Israeli occupying forces continue their attacks on Palestinian human rights organizations, with a new attack on the office of the Union of Palestinian Women’s Commitees in Hebrew


Actions such as these are not part of an isolated event but are repeated continuously creating a climate of violence and insecurity for Palestinian organizations when carrying out their work in the legitimate defense of human rights.


September, 2019

As happened on 19 September in Addameer’s office, in the early hours of Tuesday morning, 24 September, in less than a week the Israeli occupying forces once again entered to register the office of the Palestinian human rights (HR) organization Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC) in the city of Hebron, destroying some of their belongings and confiscating equipment and other materials, including a printer, a laptop computer and some photographs.

UPWC was formed in 1980 as an initiative to empower Palestinian women at all levels to contribute to the Palestinian national struggle against Israel’s military occupation. UPWC is a progressive grassroots women’s organization, an active part of the Palestinian women’s movement in particular, and the movement for national struggle in general. It works toward the autonomy of Palestinian women in all its aspects as an active agent of social transformation and as a fundamental axis in the struggle of the Palestinian people in their process of national liberation. It offers psychosocial services, training and legal advice to survivors of gender violence and former Palestinian women prisoners in Israeli jails.

Various grassroots organizations and NGOs in Spain, such as Novact, Suds, Paz con Diginidad, AECOS, Mundubat and Sodepaz, want to reaffirm our solidarity and commitment to the work of UPWC in Palestine, and show our support for the statement issued this Tuesday by the organization, which states that “raids like this are part of the ongoing and systematic attack against Palestinian civil society organizations and are practices imposed on organizations that have a role in promoting HR in Palestinian society.

We also denounce that these attacks have hardened in recent years in the form of defamation, accusing organisations such as the UPWC and Addameer of being linked to terrorism, arbitrary detentions of staff of these organisations and human rights defenders, travel restrictions or pressure from the Israeli lobby on donors to stop supporting their work. It is noteworthy that UPWC President, Khitam Saafen, a well-known local and international activist for the defense of women’s rights, was subjected to administrative detention between July and October 2017.

We strongly condemn these systematic practices that constitute a violation of HR and aim to prevent Palestinian organizations can carry out their work in defense of rights, in support of the Palestinian population, as well as continue to expose the systematic violations of HR involved in the occupation.

Therefore, as strong defenders of the protection of the Palestinian civilian population and the exercise of their civil and political rights, we demand of governments and international institutions:

  • A firm condemnation of the events that took place, as well as of the systematic Israeli policy of attacking Palestinian HR organizations that work in the protection and defense of human rights and the denunciation of the serious violations committed by Israel within the framework of international humanitarian law (IHL) and international law.
  • The imposition of sanctions and an end to the arms trade with Israel in response to the escalation of attacks against HR defenders and Palestinian civil society in general. Making use of the mechanisms available to the international community to prevent the impunity of other states for serious violations of human rights and IHL.
  • The maintenance and strengthening of support for Palestinian civil society organizations working in the defense of HR, through the financing of their work and support for international advocacy actions, in the face of growing criminalization.

At Ramallah, Setember 2019.
Novact, AECOS, Suds, Mundubat, Paz con Dignidad, Sodepaz.