A senior Human Rights Watch (HRW) official who has been expelled from Israel over his alleged support for promoting boycotts of the country will continue carrying out his work from a neighboring country, according to the rights group.
The Israeli government’s decision to expel Omar Shakir, a US citizen who represents HRW in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, was upheld by Israel’s top court on November 5, after months of deliberations.
Omar Shakir, the Director of Human Rights Watch in Jerusalem is being deported by the Israeli state. “Israel portrays itself as the region’s only democracy, but is set to deport a rights defender over his peaceful advocacy." https://t.co/88K4VCvOAJ pic.twitter.com/mPOdG0MYWy
— IMEU (@theIMEU) November 25, 2019
“Despite my deportation today, the Israeli government has failed to muzzle HRW or the human rights movement,” Shakir said at a press conference in Jerusalem, alongside Kenneth Roth, HRW’s executive director.
“It’s [the case] about an escalation of assaults on the human rights movement,” Shakir said on Monday, shortly before he is expected to leave Israel.
On a ✈️ , so it’s official: Israel has expelled me over my @hrw advocacy, joining Syria, Egypt & Bahrain in barring me access. But we we won’t be silent- en route to brief six European govts in 8 days & address European Parliament on Israel’s systematic repression of Palestinians pic.twitter.com/sr7WOGgML3
— Omar Shakir (@OmarSShakir) November 25, 2019
“There must be a reboot in the way the international community engages around this issue … So long as there’s no consequence for the regular human rights abuse, so long as impunity reigns, you will only see more and more rights defenders coming under pressure”.
According to Roth, Shakir will continue to “direct the work”, and would likely resume working from Amman, the capital of neighboring Jordan.
"Our next researcher would have the exact same problem Omar [Shakir] did … promoting our policy that businesses should avoid complicity with Israel's illegal settlements … so we're not going to replace Omar." – @KenRoth, Human Rights Watch (@HRW) pic.twitter.com/2hibYyd93f
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) November 25, 2019
Shakir’s departure marked the first expulsion of its kind under a 2017 law allowing the deportation of foreigners who support boycotting Israel, though there have been cases of people being denied entry under the measure.
(Al Jazeera, PC, Social Media)