The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (OBS), a joint program between ESCR-Net members International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has published an open letter (link is external) denouncing statements made against Palestinian human rights groups. The open letter comes in response to what the OBS calls “slandering statements” against NGOs Al-Haq and the Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights. In his speech, Israel’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Danny Danon, falsely characterized Al-Mezan and Al-Haq as linked to terrorist organizations. Such an insinuation is not only unfounded, but also dangerous for supporters and members of both human rights groups.
Al-Haq and Al-Mezan, also ESCR-Net members, are independent Palestinian human rights NGOs. Both groups work to advocate nationally and internationally to promote the rule of law and respect for human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. They achieve this through legal research, documentation, and building capacity to address violations of the individual and collective rights of Palestinians under international law. Al-Haq, Al-Mezan, and members of their staff have been subjected to ongoing threats and harassment. Such threats are in an apparent reprisal for their work to promote and defend the rights of people living in Palestine as well as their public condemnation of events like the detention of peaceful protestors, attacks on fishermen, and the electricity crisis in Gaza. Numerous ESCR-Net members therefore recognize the importance of their work and attest to the fact that they operate in consistency with human rights defense.
OBS’s full statement may be accessed here (link is external).