STATEMENT: The International Community Must Support and Protect Palestinian Civil Society

As a group of 235 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 AssociationAl-Haq Law in the Service of Man (Al-Haq)Bisan Center for Research and DevelopmentDefense 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