UN Experts Call on Governments to Resume Funding for Palestinian Groups Labeled as ‘Terrorist Organizations’

Al-Haq director Shawan Jabarin hands evidence of Israeli crimes in Gaza to ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda in November 2015. (Photo: via Al-Haq)

UN human rights experts on Monday called on the international community to take immediate and effective steps to protect and sustain the six Palestinian civil society groups that were designated as ‘terrorist organizations’ by the Government of Israel last October.

“Israel’s disturbing designation of these organizations as ‘terrorist organizations’ has not been accompanied by any public concrete and credible evidence,” the human rights experts said in a statement, a copy of which was sent to The Palestine Chronicle.

“We note that the information presented by Israel has also failed to convince a number of governments and international organizations that have traditionally provided funding for the indispensable work of these six organizations.”

In October 2021, the UN experts denounced Israel’s designation of six Palestinian civil society organizations – Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Al-Haq, Bisan Center for Research and Development, Defense for Children International – Palestine, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, and the Union of Palestinian Women Committees – as terrorist organizations.

Israel’s designation enables it to close the organizations, seize their assets, end their work and charge their leadership and staff with terrorist offenses.

“Israel has had six months to substantiate its accusations and it has failed to deliver,” the experts said.

“We call on the funding governments and international organizations to swiftly conclude that Israel has not established its allegations and to announce that they will continue to financially and politically support these organizations and the communities and groups they serve.”

Although Israel has not substantiated its allegations publicly or to the funding governments and international organizations, several of the funders have delayed their contributions to the Palestinian organizations while they investigate these claims.

The European Union has formally suspended its funding for two of these organizations. This has undermined the work of these Palestinian organizations and has had an incalculable impact on the communities they support. There has been a lack of clarity about the duration of these steps, the experts said.

“We are deeply disturbed by Israel’s apparent misuse of anti-terrorism legislation to attack some of the leading civil society organizations in Palestine. Such misuse must be rejected and countered,” the experts said.

“The United Nations has been very clear that the drafting and application of anti-terrorism laws have to be rigorously consistent with international law and human rights protections, including the principles of legal certainty, necessity, proportionality, the rule of law, and non-discrimination.”

The human rights experts called upon the international community to publicly conclude that Israel has not substantiated its allegations against the six organizations; resume, continue and even increase its financial and political support for the work of these six organizations; and demand that Israel retract the designations and cease its harassment of all Palestinian, Israeli and international human rights and civil society organizations which promote human rights and accountability in Israel and Palestine.

(The Palestine Chronicle, WAFA, Social Media)

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