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International Human Rights Scholars, Centers, Institutes and Clinical Programs Call on the Biden Administration to Demand that the Israeli Government Reverse its Decision Criminalizing Prominent Palestinian Human Rights Organizations
30، Oct 2021

The Israeli Defense Ministry’s order issued on October 19, 2021, labelling six Palestinian non- governmental organizations as ‘terrorist organizations’ and ordering the closure of their offices, is an affront to human rights, freedom of expression and association, and a thinly-veiled move to shut down legitimate criticism of Israeli human rights abuses. The order allows the Israeli military to shut down the offices of Al-Haq, Addameer, Defense for Children-Palestine (DCI-P), the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, the Union of Palestinian Women Committees, and the Bisan Center for Research and Development. These prominent organizations – some of whom have been in existence for decades – have won international awards for their work defending human rights. Human rights organizations around the world have learned from and aspire to attain the skill, experience, knowledge, and dedication that the staff and leadership of these human rights organizations have displayed in the face of the extreme oppression of the Israelioccupation.

Currently, members of the U.S. Congress are deliberating a bill, spearheaded by Congresswoman Betty McCollum (DFL-Minn), Defending the Human Rights of Palestinian Children and Families Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act, on which they, and Congresswoman McCollum, worked closely with DCI-P. Congresswoman McCollum has just issued a statement condemning the shut-down of the Palestinian NGO’s, and we echo her call to the Biden administration to urge “the Israeli government to reverse the decision and restore these organizations’ ability to continue their important work.”

These organizations have collaborated with a vast number of human rights institutions around the world, including on cases and projects, workshops and conferences, and human rights reports. They are our colleagues in the global human rights struggle. Some of us have worked with them directly, while others have benefitted from their human rights reporting and expertise in the region. Others know them by reputation. Even before the October 19 order, they faced constant harassment and efforts by the Israeli government and government-supported parastatal organizations to cut off their funding and discredit their work. Until now, they have persevered, in part because they have the support of international partners and funders, who recognize the critical importance of their advocacy on behalf of ordinary Palestinians suffering under Israel’s occupation. They have documented human rights violations committed by both the Palestinian Authority and Israeli security forces, litigated on behalf of Palestinians detained indefinitely without trial, and sought to protect the rights of women and children. Without their presence in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, ordinary Palestinians will be left without skilled, experienced legal advocates to defend them—and the world will be deprived of critical information about the human rights situation throughout the region.

Addameer, founded in 1992, advocates for Palestinian political prisoners who suffer long-term arbitrary detention—without charge or trial—and has documented severe abuse and torture of detainees, including children, by Israeli authorities. Addameer has worked closely for years with Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the World Organization against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH).

Al-Haq, founded in 1979, is the West Bank affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists- Geneva. Al-Haq has won, among many other international awards, the Human Rights Prize of the French Republic, the Danish PL Foundation Prize, the Geuzenpenning Prize for Human Rights Defenders, and the Gwynne Skinner Human Rights Award from the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable. Al-Haq has issued dozens of meticulously documented reports on topics such as the right to life and bodily integrity, the right to housing, freedom of movement,the annexation wall, and settler violence.

The Bisan Center for Research and Development has been in operation since the late 1980's, and has a particular focus on the most marginalized communities in Palestine. It has centered its work on economic and social rights of women, youth, and workers in the most rural and deprived areas, advocating for their development needs. The Center has conducted pioneering research on attitudes toward gender-based violence in the health community, and has partnered with UNIFEM on work to end violence against women.

The Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) is one of the oldest Palestinian NGOs that supports and advocates for Palestinian farmers' rights to sovereignty of their land and products. They have played a leading role in documenting settler violence against Palestinian farmers, work that is even more important now as Palestinians across the West Bank are facing massive settler violence as they try to harvest their olive crops. Since August 2021, settlers have injured at least 22 Palestinians and have destroyed over 1,800 Palestinian trees. UAWC has received the UNDP Equator Prize and the US Food Sovereignty Alliance's Food Sovereignty Prize for its contribution to global sustainable food development based on its unique seed bank initiative.

The Union of Palestinian Women Committees (UPWC), established in 1980, is the umbrella organization for all Palestinian women's groups in the Occupied Territories. Its staff have supported Palestinian women's rights, equality between men and women, and equity between social classes. UPWC has been a major force in the women's rights movement in Palestine, and plays an active role in the global movement for women's rights.

These organizations would not have the international recognition and global network of partners and collaborators in their human rights work if the pretext Israel has given for declaring them to be ‘terrorist organizations’ were credible.

We urge the Biden Administration to immediately demand that Israel rescind the October 19 order, and restore the rights of Al-Haq, Addameer, DCI-P, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, and the Bisan Center for Research and Development to carry out their work. We also call upon the donor community to maintain their support for these organizations so they can continue their vital work.



Center for International Human Rights at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law

CLEAR Clinic, CUNY School of Law

Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute

Cornell Law School Gender Justice Clinic

Cornell Law School International Human Rights Clinic

Cornell University Labor Law Clinic

International Human Rights Clinic, Harvard Law School

International Human Rights Clinic, Boston University School of Law

Global Justice Clinic, NYU School of Law

Robert and Helen Bernstein Institute for Human Rights, NYU School of Law

University Network for Human Rights

Afsaneh Rigot, senior researcher, ARTICLE 19

Alice M. Miller, Co-Director, Global Health Justice Partnership of the Yale Law and Public Health Schools, Yale University 

Andrew Ross, Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis, New York University

Anthony Tirado Chase, Young Initiative, Occidental College

Arang Keshavarzian, Faculty member, New York University 

Astha Sharma Pokharel, Clinical Teaching Fellow, International Human Rights Law Clinic, University of California at Berkeley

Atalia Omer, Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame

Avidan Y. Cover, Professor of Law, Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Aziza Ahmed, Professor of Law

Bassam Khawaja, Co-director, Human Rights and Privatization Project, NYU School of Law

Benjamín Juárez, Professor Emeritus, Boston University

Bert Lockwood, Distinguished Service Professor and Director, Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights, University of Cincinnati College of Law

Christine Bustany, Senior Lecturer in International Law , The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University

Darryl Li, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and in the College // Associate Member, Law School, University of Chicago

Deborah M. Weissman, Reef C. Ivey II Distinguished Professor of Law School of Law, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Deena R. Hurwitz, Esq.

Delphine Lourtau

Diane L. Moore, Director Religion and Public Life, Harvard Divinity School

Elisabeth Ward-Herman , International Human Rights Law Institute of DePaul University College of Law 

Fred Moten, New York University

Gianpaolo Baiocchi, Professor of Individualized Studies and Sociology, New York University

Hannah R. Garry, Director, USC International Human Rights Clinic

Helga Tawil-Souri, Associate Professor, New York University

Ioannis Kalpouzos, Visiting Professor, Harvard Law School

Karen Musalo, Bank of America Foundation Chair in International Law, Professor & Director, Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, U.C. Hastings College of the Law

Lisa Wedeen, University of Chicago

Mary Ellen O'Connell, University of Notre Dame

Meg Satterthwaite, Faculty Director, Bernstein Institute for Human Rights, NYU School of Law

Mindy Jane Roseman, J.D., Ph.D., Director, Gruber Program for Global Justice and Women's Rights, Yale Law School

Noura Erakat, Associate Professor, Rutgers University- New Brunswick

Obiora Okafor, Professor, School of Advanced international Studies, Johns Hopkins University

Pablo de Greiff Senior Fellow and Director, Prevention Project; Transitional Justice Program, Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, New York University School of Law and former UN Special Rapporteur for the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence (2012-2018)

Paula Chakravartty, Associate Professor, Gallatin & MCC, NYU-AAUP

Rabea Eghbariah, Harvard Law School, Adalah

Ramzi Kassem, Professor of Law, CUNY School of Law

Randa Wahbe, Department of Anthropology, Harvard University

Rebecca E. Karl, Professor of History, New York University

Ritty Lukose, New York University

Sandra L. Babcock, Clinical Professor, Cornell Law School

Sarah H. Paoletti, Practice Professor of Law and Director, Transnational Legal Clinic*, University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School

Sinan Antoon, New York University

Stephanie Barbour, International Human Rights Lawyer

Stephen A. Rosenbaum, MPP, JD, Frank C. Newman Lecturer, School of Law, University of California, Berkeley 

Sukti Dhital, Executive Director, Bernstein Institute for Human Rights, NYU School of Law

Swethaa S. Ballakrishnen (they/them), Assistant Professor of Law and (by courtesy) Sociology, Asian American Studies, and Criminology, Law and Society, Faculty Co-Director, Center for Empirical Research on the Legal Profession, University of California Irvine School of Law

Tally Kritzman-Amir, Visiting Assistant Professor, Boston University School of Law

Tarek Z. Ismail, CUNY School of Law

Vasuki Nesiah, Professor of Human Rights and International Law, The Gallatin School, New York University

Zohra Ahmed, Assistant Professor, University of Georgia School of Law

In addition to the Biden Administration, we call upon leaders and governments abroad to immediately demand that Israel rescind the October 19 order, and restore the rights of Al-Haq, Addameer, DCI-P, the Union of Agricultural WorkCommittees, the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, and the Bisan Center for Research  and Development to carry out their work.

DITSHWANELO - The Botswana Centre for Human Rights

Dorothy Estrada Tanck , Assistant Professor of International Law and International Relations, Director of the Legal Clinic of the Faculty of Law, University of Murcia, Spain

Dr Gearóid Ó Cuinn, Director of the Global Legal Action Network

Dr Koldo Casla, Director, Human Rights Centre Clinic, University of Essex, UK

Dr. Ardi Imseis, Assistant Professor of Law, Queen’s University

Dr. Daragh Murray, Director, University of Essex Human Rights Centre Clinic Digital Verification Unit

Dr. Raed Abubadawia

Dr. Robert Heinsch, LL.M.; Director of the Leiden International Humanitarian Law Clinic at Leiden University, The Netherlands

Eva Rieter, International Human Rights Scholar

Heidi Matthews, Assistant Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School

Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa, Pan-African human rights organization based in Banjul The Gambia 

Jacob van Garderen, human rights lawyer, South Africa

Sari Bashi, Israeli human rights lawyer and scholar

Southern Africa Litigation Centre

The Centre for Applied Legal Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria