On October 19, 2021, the government of Israel falsely designated Al-Haq (and five other Palestinian human rights groups) as a terrorist organization under Israel’s draconian 2016 Counter-Terrorism Law, effectively criminalizing Al-Haq’s critical work advancing human rights. This is an appalling escalation of the government’s ongoing repression of Palestinian civil society. Al-Haq is a trusted member of ICAR dedicated to the protection of human rights and we unequivocally denounce this baseless designation.
Al-Haq is a Palestinian civil society organization that engages in national and international advocacy on a wide range of human rights issues, including corporate accountability, the protection of civic space, and the rights to health and housing. Al-Haq has been an ICAR member since 2017, and in 2020, ICAR awarded Al-Haq the Gwynne Skinner Human Rights Award for its work in holding multinational corporations accountable for their participation in human rights abuses in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).
Al-Haq documents violations of the individual and collective rights of Palestinians in the OPT, irrespective of the identity of the perpetrator, and seeks to end such breaches by way of advocacy before national and international mechanisms and by holding the violators accountable. The organization conducts research; prepares reports, studies and intervenes on breaches of international human rights and humanitarian law in the OPT. Al-Haq also cooperates with Palestinian civil society organizations and governmental institutions in order to ensure that international human rights standards are reflected in Palestinian law and policies. For the last 50 years since its establishment in 1979 by a group of Palestinian lawyers, Al-Haq has been a consistent voice defending the rights of Palestinians in the face of immense political pressure. ICAR firmly supports Al-Haq and reaffirms the value of Al-Haq’s crucial work in the face of this attack.
We demand the government of Israel immediately revoke its unfounded designation of Al-Haq as a terrorist organization and cease its attack on Palestinian civil society and the human rights community. We also urge the Israeli government to revoke its 2016 Counter-Terrorism Law, which is incompatible with basic human rights standards. We call on the Biden administration to (among other steps) issue a public statement rejecting the government’s false accusations against Palestinian civil society organizations, calling on Israeli authorities to immediately reverse their decision, and demanding the government end all efforts aimed at delegitimizing and criminalizing Palestinian human rights defenders. Finally, we urge Congress to pass the House Resolution to condemn the Israeli government’s criminalization of Palestinian rights organizations (H.Res. 751).
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