Human Rights Watch: Israel Denies Director Work Permit

A Human Rights Watch logo. (Photo: HRW website)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

Human Rights Watch has revealed in a statement published today that the Israeli occupation authorities have denied Human Rights Watch’s application for a work permit for its Israel and Palestine director :on the grounds that it is not a real human rights group.”

HRW noted in its February 20, 2017 letter that Israel denied work permit for Omar Shakir, citing an ‘opinion’ received from the Foreign Ministry that Human Rights Watch’s “public activities and reports have engaged in politics in the service of Palestinian propaganda, while falsely raising the banner of ‘human rights.’”

“This decision and the spurious rationale should worry anyone concerned about Israel’s commitment to basic democratic values,” said Iain Levine, deputy executive director of program at Human Rights Watch. “It is disappointing that the Israeli government seems unable or unwilling to distinguish between justified criticisms of its actions and hostile political propaganda.”

Human Rights Watch said the decision was particularly surprising given that the organization regularly meets and corresponds with Israeli government officials, including representatives of the military, the police, and the Foreign Ministry. Last year, the Foreign Ministry asked Human Rights Watch to intervene in a case involving Israeli victims of human rights abuses.

“The Israeli government is hardly the only one to disagree with our well-researched findings, but efforts to stifle the messenger signal that it has no appetite for serious scrutiny of its human rights record,” Levine said. “We hope the Israeli authorities will reverse this decision and allow both international and domestic human rights groups to work freely.”

(PalestineChronicle.com)

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