Following Al-Haq’s statement warning of the suppression and attacks on peaceful assemblies, and their dangerous repercussions on the internal civil peace and the human rights situation, and stressing the need to respect the Palestinian anger following the killing of the political activist Nizar Banat, a peaceful assembly took place at 5:00 pm on 26 June 2021 in the centre of Ramallah city, where Palestinians expressed their condemnation of the killing of Banat. This peaceful assembly coincided with the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, which the world commemorates against torture and other forms of ill-treatment. Despite all the warnings, the Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces, in uniform and civilian attire, attacked the participants in the peaceful assembly, in which the Executive Authority completely disregarded warnings of Al-Haq and other human rights organisations and national figures regarding the deterioration of the dangerous human rights situation on the internal Palestinian scene.
Al-Haq followed up the attacks against the participants in the peaceful assembly, which were represented by serious violations of the rights and freedoms of Palestinian citizens guaranteed by the Basic Law and the international human rights conventions to which the State of Palestine has acceded to. Al-Haq team documented these violations, including the use of excessive force by members of the security forces, in official uniforms as well as civilian attire, including by attacking the participants with batons and rocks, which resulted in injuries in heads, and the dragging of some of the participants on the ground, followed by beating them in different parts of their bodies. It was also documented that security forces in uniform extensively fired tear gas canisters in the city centre, where protesters and bystanders were present, including children, women and the elderly. Al-Haq team also documented the attack on journalists who were covering the events of the protest, as they were forced to leave the area, and had their equipment confiscated. According to Al-Haq’s documentation, at least five journalists were directly attacked by security forces in civilian attire. As Al-Haq field research team was monitoring and documenting violations, the team members were also attacked and their phones were confiscated by security forces in civilian attire, who introduced and identified themselves as officers of the Palestinian General Intelligence.
Al-Haq condemns the attacks carried out by the PA security forces against the participants of the peaceful assembly, as it further condemns allowing members of the security forces in civilian attire to hold a rally in support of the Executive Authority in the city centre. Al-Haq notes that this exemplifies discrimination between citizens regarding their enjoyment of their constitutional rights, which the Palestinian Basic Law considers to be constitutional crimes not subject to a statute of limitations, and constitutes a grave violation of the State of Palestine’s obligations arising from its accession to international human rights conventions.
Al-Haq asserts that all officials who are involved in issuing instructions to these security forces must be held accountable, and that the political level actors bear legal and national responsibility towards the human rights violations and the regression of the state of rights and freedoms. Al-Haq further stresses the need for the Public Prosecution to open a criminal investigation against members of the security forces, in uniform and in civilian attire, who committed crimes against the participants in the peaceful assembly, and attacked and assaulted the demonstrators, in front of the security forces who did nothing to protect the citizens. Al-Haq further demands the release of all those arbitrarily detained on the grounds of exercising their rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.