PCHR condemns and calls on the international community to intervene quickly after Israeli occupation forces shut down 7 CSOs in Ramallah – – IMEMC News

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR): On Thursday, August 18, 2022 at dawn, the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) raided 7 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Ramallah and confiscated some of their content.

The decision came hours after Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced 3 CSOs: the Bisan Center for Research and Development, the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC) and the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association as “terrorist organizations”. , for allegedly funding the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

The decision was taken after the rejection of an appeal brought by these organizations against a previous decision handed down last October qualifying 6 CSOs as terrorist organisations.

According to investigations conducted by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), today at dawn, a large number of IOF moved into Ramallah and Al-Bireh, where they attacked 7 CSOs and organizations human rights organizations and confiscated most of their content.

Then they welded with locks and iron bars and affixed a military order issued by the military commander on the doors, stating “necessary for the security of the region, to counter the infrastructure of terrorism, in all its parts, vehicles, organizations and bodies, and to thwart acts of terrorism and strike the infrastructure of terrorism, I order this place to be closed”.

As a result, none of those who worked in these organizations could see the extent of the sabotage there, nor what was confiscated.

Organizations closed are: Bisan Center for Research and Development, Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC), Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Al-Haq, Union of Work Committees Agriculture (UAWC), the Union of Women’s Committees and the Union of Health Work Committees (UHWC).

PCHR stresses that the closure is part of the systematic IOF policy aimed at polishing Palestinian civil society and undermining its role in supporting Palestinian resilience under occupation.

PCHR hereby stresses that any aggression against civil society organizations constitutes a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and violates the obligations of the Israeli occupation authorities under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which guarantees the right to freedom of association in Article 22.

PCHR stresses that the IOF adopts a systematic policy to tighten the screws on Palestinian CSOs which began since the Durban Conference against racism in South Africa in 2001 and intensified after the accession of the State of Palestine at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2015.

These restrictions included prosecuting human rights activists and limiting their movements and movements, raids and the closure of leading human rights organizations and services.

PCHR stresses that the prosecution of IOF, the designation of Palestinian NGOs as “terrorists” and the smear campaign against them are aimed at shutting down these organizations and withholding funding from external donors; thus, having only one narrative and hiding the truth about the IOF crimes committed in the OPT.

PCHR points out that such practices are part of an old/new campaign against CSOs and human rights organizations due to its pioneering role in exposing violations of IOF and its international work, in particular at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

PCHR says such practices come at a time when IDF violations against Palestinian civilians are reaching a climax as Palestinian CSOs have countered the silence on these violations by exposing IDF crimes and the unprecedented fierce campaign against the Palestinian people. Palestinian over the past 20 years.

For more than 6 months, these violations escalated and included settlement expansion, seizure of Palestinian land, construction of settlement roads, construction of the annexation wall, ethnic cleansing and creation of a Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem and the assault on holy sites.

PCHR asserts that CSOs are the last resort to protect the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and to defend civilian victims of Israeli violations. These organizations will never and even refuse to be a good victim of the occupation.

CSOs are fully aware of their role and duty and will not surrender or be drawn into defending their existence, because they exist for a noble, legal, national and humanitarian mission, which is to defend the dignity , the rights and the state of mind of the Palestinians. right.

It should be noted that the decision of the Israeli authorities to classify 6 CSOs as terrorist organizations has been widely and internationally condemned, notably by United Nations bodies, special rapporteurs and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

In addition, 10 member states of the European Union (EU) rejected the Israeli decision, saying it was based on unfounded accusations and affirmed in a joint statement that they would continue to work with these organizations, and that a free and strong civil society is essential to promote democratic values.

PCHR emphasizes the role of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in protecting civil society and its organizations, especially since these organizations operate legally in the West Bank and in its offices located in areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority. .

PCHR also calls on the EU and the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention to take immediate action to compel Israel to reverse the decision to close CSOs and to end all violations against them.

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Michael A. Bynum