UN Rights Commissioner: Israel’s Designation is Unjustified Attack on Palestinian Civil Society

Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. (Photo: via Twitter)

Israel’s decision to designate six Palestinian civil society organizations as ‘terrorist organizations’ is an attack on human rights defenders, on freedoms of association, opinion, and expression, and on the right to public participation, and should be immediately revoked, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said on Tuesday.

The organizations concerned are some of the most reputable human rights and humanitarian groups in the occupied Palestinian territory and for decades have worked closely with the UN, he UN High Commissioner said in a statement.

The designation decisions under the Israeli Counter-Terrorism Law of 2016 are based on extremely vague or unsubstantiated reasons, including entirely peaceful and legitimate human rights activities, such as providing legal aid to Palestinians in detention, organizing activities for women in the West Bank, and “promoting steps against Israel in the international arena.”

“Claiming rights before a UN or other international body is not an act of terrorism, advocating for the rights of women in the occupied Palestinian territory is not terrorism, and providing legal aid to detained Palestinians is not terrorism,” Bachelet said.

The High Commissioner reiterated that counter-terrorism legislation must not be applied to legitimate human rights and humanitarian work.

The organizations are Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association; Al Haq; Defense for Children International – Palestine; Union of Agricultural Work Committees; Bisan Center for Research and Development; and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees.

(WAFA, PC, Social Media)

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