Today, Sunday 21 August 2022, Al-Haq sent an urgent appeal to UN Special Procedures urgently demanding that the international community immediately take targeted and effective action to protect the General Directors of Al-Haq, Mr. Shawan Jabarin, and DCI-Palestine, Mr. Khaled Quzmar, Palestinian civil society organizations and human rights defenders, who are now facing existential threats, including arbitrary arrests and imprisonment, show trials on secret evidence, risk to financial and banking assets of the organisations, and closure and prevention of critical human rights work in the occupied Palestinian territory.
On 18 August 2022, at approximately 3:00 am, Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) entered Ramallah, targeting, forcibly entering, raiding the offices of the six designated Palestinian civil society organisations Al-Haq, Addameer, the Bisan Center for Research & Development, Defence for Children International-Palestine (DCI-P), Union of Agricultural Workers Committees (UAWC), and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC). Private property and information was seized from three of these organizations by the IOF, and the office of the Health Workers Committees was also raided. The organisations had been designated by Israel under its Counter Terrorism Law, 2016, and under military order of 3 November 2021, as “terrorist” and “unlawful associations”.
Last Thursday, 18 August 2022, following a decision by Benny Gantz, the military order has taken full effect in the OPT, whereupon Yehuda Fox, the Israeli military commander, led an armed incursion into Ramallah to forcibly close the six organisations, in an attempt to quash the work of human rights defenders, in serious violation of the right to freedom of expression and association.
Today, 21 August 2022, at 9:31 am, the Israeli Occupying Forces summoned the General Director of Al-Haq, Mr. Shawan Jabarin for interrogation at the Ofer Military Base, located near Ramallah. The caller, who introduced himself as Captain Fahed, informed Mr. Jabarin that Israel and the Israeli army have declared Al-Haq to be an illegal entity and a terrorist organization that was shut down, stating that Israel will not allow the organization to remain open and functioning. The caller then falsely claimed that Al-Haq has ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and that Mr. Jabarin is one of its members.
Today, at 14:25, lawyer and General Director of Defence for Children International, Palestine (DCI-P), Mr. Khaled Quzmar was summoned for interrogation at the Ofer military base by a Shin Beta agent. At 15:20 an eyewitness reported seeing Mr. Quzmar escorted into Shin Bet premises. Mr. Quzmar was not allowed to have legal counsel accompany him. At the time of writing the urgent appeal, he has been released.
Notably, in November-December 2021, Al-Haq sent two urgent appeals to the United Nations Special Procedures calling on the UN Special Rapporteurs to protect Palestinian human rights organizations and individuals. The first urgent appeal, submitted on 16 November 2021, urged intervention on Israel’s campaign of mass surveillance against Palestinian Human Rights Defenders. The second urgent appeal submitted on 21 November 2021, brought by the SOAS Centre for Human Rights Law on behalf of the six designated organizations, provides a legal analysis of Israeli’s Counter-Terrorism Law of 2016 and concluded its blatant illegality concerning international human rights and humanitarian law.
The situation has significantly deteriorated and the staff of the six designated organisations and the Health Work Committee are under grave and immediate risk of arbitrary arrest, prosecution on secret evidence, administrative detention, and appropriation of their financial and banking assets. Further, the human rights and humanitarian work of the organisations, is gravely threatened by these closures.
Find the full urgent appeal here including recommendations.