Al Mezan welcomes the decision of the Palestinian Council of Ministers to rescind some articles of Decree Law no. 7 of 2021 (hereafter “the decree law”), which imposed restrictions on civil society organizations and infringed on the right to freedom of association in Palestine. In a move commended by civil society, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayye addressed concerns arising from the decree law and called for a dialogue with civil society representatives. However, recalling that the elected Legislative Council is the only body with the constitutional powers to legislate and that the two criteria for legislating otherwise were not met—being strict “necessity” and an out-of-session Legislative Council—Al Mezan reiterates that the law must be fully rescinded.
Stakeholders, civil and governmental bodies must also partake in the discussions and decision-making around such legislation. “Incorporating civil society in the decision-making around legislation that pertains to the scope and freedom of work of associations is an essential step in ensuring that the law in question is compatible with Palestine’s international obligations,” noted Mr. Issam Younis, Al Mezan’s Director-General.
The decree law, issued by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on 2 March 2021, amends Law no. 1 of 2000 (Law of Charitable Associations and Community Organizations) and imposes serious restrictions on associations and civil society organizations by inter alia stipulating that associations’ work plans must be in line with those of the competent ministry—representing a serious infringement on the independence of civil society.
Al Mezan reiterates its call for the rescission of all unnecessary laws by decree, notably the full decree law in question. Al Mezan also stresses that the promotion and protection of human rights, public freedoms, and democratic values must permeate all Palestinian policies. To this end, the competent authorities bear the responsibility to uphold the rule of law and the principle of the separation of powers.
 Article 43, Palestinian Amended Basic Law