Al Mezan Center for Human Rights is releasing a fact sheet on the violations by the Palestinian authorities in Gaza of the rights to opinion, expression, association, assembly and freedom from arbitrary detention. The fact sheet covers the period from 1 March 2018 to 28 February 2019 and is a component of a European Union funded project that has as one of its aims to document abuses of these rights and advocate for compliance of duty bearers with international law.
This paper asserts that the instances of arbitrary detention on the basis of opinion and expression, political affiliation and assembly was a systematic violation occurring during the period. The security authorities in Gaza issued summons orders on the aforementioned grounds in 742 cases. In 588 cases, the summoned persons were detained and in 119 of these cases, the person was detained more than once. Of the total number of cases, 448 persons were detained because of political affiliation alone, with 110 of them being detained more than once.
The fact sheet notes that the frequency of arbitrary arrests seems to correlate with the political atmosphere between parties in the occupied Palestinian territory. When inter-Palestinian negotiations for political reconciliation are ongoing, the number of arbitrary detention cases drops significantly. When these talks stall, the number of cases tends to increase. This trend shows the likelihood that detention and harassment practices are perceived, to a certain extent, as a political tool.
The fact sheet also looks at the instances of these human rights abuses on journalists and media professionals and others present at demonstrations and sit-ins.
Among the set of recommendations is the call on duty bearers to prevent political rivalry from impacting the civil and political rights of the population, and, by first ceasing all abovementioned conduct, ensure the respect, protection and fulfilment of human rights of residents.