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Joint Submission to the UN Secretary-General on Intimidation and Reprisals for Cooperation with the UN in the Field of Human Rights
16، Apr 2022
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On 15 April 2022, Al-Haq, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, and Human Rights and Democracy Media Center SHAMS submitted a communication in response to the call for inputs on intimidation and reprisals for the annual report of the Secretary-General. Every year, the Secretary-General releases a report on “Cooperation with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights”, including cases studies, selected on the “basis of the principles of ‘do no harm’ and informed consent” to highlight “activities, policy developments and good practices within the UN system. This year, the organisations responded with reference to the thematic issue of the “terror designations” by Israel under its Counter Terrorism Law, 2016 and transposed into military order to take effect in the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT) of the six Palestinian human rights and civil society organisations.


Following an explanation of the objective of the shrinking space to facilitate and entrench Israel’s settler colonisation and apartheid regime, the organisations outlined how Israel has also pursued a policy of systematic persecution of Palestinian civil society organisations that continue to confront its apartheid laws, policies and practices.[1] The various acts of persecution and the systematic smear campaign against civil society and human rights defenders by Israel intends to silence, intimidate and shrink the space of civil society as well as shut down critical voices of the apartheid regime practiced by Israel over the Palestinian people as a whole. The latest alarming blatant attack was the designation of six leading human rights and civil society organisations as “terrorist organisations”.


This mounting pressure on the work of civil society organisations in Palestine in the past decade includes issuing a number of false accusations in reports made public by the Israeli group ‘NGO Monitor’, and later by the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs. Most recently, on 22 March 2022, NGO Monitor published a report titled, "Michael Lynk's Final Fiction,[2] following the report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur (UNSR) on the situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, to the UN Human Rights Council. There he concluded that Israeli rule over the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT) amounts to apartheid.[3] In the report, NGO Monitor reiterates and relies on the arbitrary designations of the six Palestinian CSOs as "terrorist organizations"—devoting an entire section to their discussion—to refute the determinations made in the report. NGO Monitor then refutes ad hominem the determination by dismissing UNSR Michael Lynk's citation of human rights documentation by Addameer and Al-Haq.[4]


Despite these serious allegations against the six civil society organisations, Israel has failed to provide any serious evidence of its accusations and has claimed to have evidence in a secret file.[5] Nevertheless, as a precautionary measure, the European Commission (EC), a long-standing partner of Al-Haq imposed a funding suspension on Al-Haq, but provided no clarifications on the reasons of the suspension. On 5 January 2022, the Dutch government announced that UAWC will no longer receive funds from the Netherlands, despite the Dutch having conducting an investigation in 2020 and having found no grounds for the Israeli allegations claiming links between UAWC and terrorist activities.[6]


On 7 July 2021, Ms. Shatha Odeh Abu Fannouneh (Ms. Odeh), 61 was arbitrarily and forcibly arrested from her house in Ramallah, Palestine. Ms. Odeh, a mother of three, is a nurse by profession and currently serves as the Director of the HWC. In another case, on 13 February 2022, Ofer military court sentenced Khitam Sa’afin, President of the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC) one of the designated organisations, to 16 months imprisonment after around 15 months of arbitrary detention, and a fine of 1,500 shekels. On 7 March 2022, Palestinian lawyer for Addameer, Salah Hammouri was arbitrarily arrested and transferred to Ofer Israeli military prison and issued a three-month administrative detention order based on "secret information."


During the 49th UN Human Rights Council, sessions and side events organised by civil society organisations, several member states and UN experts condemned the designations,  highlighting the danger of using counter terrorism measures based on ‘secret evidence’ against civil society organisations human rights defenders.[7] Further, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, in a report on the OPT, condemned the terror designations, which she emphasised were “based on vague and unsubstantiated allegations”. [8]  She further outlined how “Israel also carried out arbitrary arrests and criminal prosecution of human rights defenders, including women human rights defenders”.[9]


For further details and recommendations please see the full submission here






[1] Al-Haq, “16 Palestinian and Regional Organisations Send Joint Submission to the UN Secretary-General on Intimidation and Reprisals for Cooperation with the UN”, 20 April 2021, available at:

[2] NGO Monitor, “Michael Lynk’s Final Fiction,” 22 March 2022, available at:

[3] UN OHCHR, “Israel’s 55-year occupation of Palestinian Territory is apartheid – UN human rights expert,” 25 March 2022,

[4] See Supra 14.

[5] 972 Magazine, Secret Israeli dossier provides no proof for declaring Palestinian NGOs ‘terrorists’, November 2021, available at:

[6] OMCT, Organisations urge the Dutch government to resume funding for Palestinian organization, January 2022, available at:

[7] Al-Haq, see for example “Side Event Parallel to UNHRC 49th Calling for Rescinding the Designation of the 6 Organizations and the Protection of Human Rights Work in Palestine” 24 March 2022, Available at:

[8] Relief Web, Occupied Palestinian Territory Delivered by Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights at Human Rights Council 49th Session”, 25 March 2022, available at:

[9] Relief Web, Occupied Palestinian Territory Delivered by Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights at Human Rights Council 49th Session”, 25 March 2022, available at: