Palestinian Human Rights Groups ‘Gravely Concerned’ Over Death Threats to Staff

Human rights lawyer, Nada Kiswanson. (Photo: via NRC.cl)

The Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC) said in a press release on Sunday that they were “gravely concerned” over an ongoing smear campaign and mounting threats by Israeli authorities and associated groups directed at employees of PHROC member organizations.

The statement came after reports emerged that human rights lawyer, Nada Kiswanson, who represents Palestinian NGO Al-Haq before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague, had been receiving death threats since February, Dutch newspaper NRC reported on Wednesday.

The report revealed the threats referred specifically to Kiswanson’s work with the ICC, rousing suspicions that Israeli security services may have been involved in the attack, according to the newspaper.

The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not respond to NRC regarding the allegations.

“These threats are part of a systematic and planned campaign that began in mid-2015, with the intent to disrupt the work of organizations, defame them, and impact their funding,” the PHROC statement published on Sunday by the Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights said.

Palestinian human rights organizations which have been the targets of cyber-attacks and threats over recent months include Al-Haq, Al-Mezan, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), and the Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights (Badil).

In November, Al-Haq, Al-Mezan, Addameer, and PCHR delivered a confidential communication to the ICC on crimes jointly documented by the four groups during the war. Badil published key findings on Israel’s alleged war crimes during the Gaza war that the group submitted to the International Criminal Court in March.

“PHROC will follow up on this matter by reaching out to representative offices, UN bodies, and local and international partners,” adding that the groups “will continue its work at the ICC in order to ensure accountability for crimes committed in the OPT.”

(MA’AN, PC)

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