Posts Tagged ‘boycott’

Poland and Israel: human rights defenders not welcome

May 9, 2018

For those who think that muzzling human rights defenders is an exclusively non-western affair, look at these examples: Poland and Israel.

On 9 May 2018 Katharina Rall, environment researcher at Human Rights Watch, critically looks at Poland‘s efforts to hamper the freedom of expression and demonstration by human rights defenders at the forthcoming climate summit, known as the COP24. It will bring together state parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and thousands of experts, journalists, businesses and nongovernmental groups.  UN experts cite concerns about the ban on spontaneous assemblies in Katowice during the talks, which will make it difficult for groups to respond to developments at the negotiations. In a letter sent to the Polish government last month they said that by “curtail[ing] the possibility of spontaneously expressing views about the unfolding of the climate talks and organizing peaceful assemblies to this effect”, the new law appears to go beyond the rights restrictions necessary to ensure security and safety at the conference. The UN experts also noted that the law “appears to give sweeping surveillance powers to the police and secret services to collect and process personal data about all COP24 participants”. This is a serious issue for the safety of climate activists at the summit. [The Polish government has yet to respond to the UN rights experts. But a reply from the Polish environment minister to similar concerns raised by the Bureau of the Aarhus Convention, a regional human rights and environmental body, has done little to dispel them.]

Just the day before, 8 May 2018, AP reported that Israel’s Interior Minister, Arieh Deri, has ordered the head of the local office of Human Rights Watch to leave the country within 14 days for allegedly supporting boycotts of Israel. HRW responded that it stands by Omar Shakir, a U.S. citizen of Iraqi descent, and accused Israel of trying to muzzle criticism of its human rights record. It says neither it nor Shakir support boycotts, and that it will challenge the decision in court. Iain Levine, a Human Rights Watch official, says Israel’s actions, such as compiling a dossier on Shakir, and “deporting human rights defenders is a page out of the Russian or Egyptian security services’ playbook.” [In April last year his appointment had already let to controversy, see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2017/04/27/human-rights-watch-granted-israeli-work-permit-in-the-end/]

http://news.trust.org//item/20180509072953-izwk3/

https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/israel-expel-human-rights-watch-rep-boycott-claims-55019948

Omar Barghouti; Palestinian human rights defender faces restrictions on freedom of movement

May 14, 2016

Frontline NEWlogo-2 full version - croppedreports on 13 May 2016 how Israel refused to give a travel document and could possibly revoke the permanent resident status of Omar Barghouti.

 

 

 

On 10 May 2016, human rights defender Mr Omar Barghouti received confirmation of the official refusal by Israeli authorities to renew his travel document. Moreover he was informed that the refusal to renew the travel document is a first step in the eventual revocation of his permanent resident status. Omar Barghouti is a Palestinian human rights defender and co-founder in 2005 of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions [https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/profile/omar-barghouti]. Omar Barghouti has been living in Acre, Israel with his family since 1994, when he was granted  permanent residency. His Israeli travel document allows him to travel back and forth to Palestine to carry out his advocacy work related to the promotion of Palestinian rights. The permit must be renewed every two years, and was renewed regularly without any difficulty.

On 10 May 2016, Omar Barghouti received official confirmation that renewal of his travel document and re-entry permit had been refused by Israeli authorities. In April 2016, he was informed by Israel’s Interior Ministry, who has responsibility for immigration, that his resident status was under review by the Attorney General. Officials have stated that the revocation of his resident permit is related to his work and international travel advocating “for the boycott of Israel”. Without travel document, Omar Barghouti will be unable to freely travel to and from Palestine; should the resident permit also be withdrawn, he will be unable to reside in Israel, where he has been living with his family for 22 years.

Prior to this incident, Omar Barghouti was prevented by Israeli authorities from traveling abroad on several occasions including to two conferences held by BDS in California, on nonviolent and strategic action against human rights violations.

 

218 Extremely courageous Human Rights Defenders in China

October 26, 2013

Two hundred and eighteen human rights defenders in Shanghai signed a public appeal urging the United Nations not to elect China to the 47-member Human Rights Council. The election will be held on 12 November in the General Assembly.

China is one of the five candidates for the four seats to be filled by Asia-Pacific states. The other candidates are Jordan, Maldives, Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam. Among the voluntary pledges made by China for its membership are: “To continue to strengthen the development of democracy and the rule of law [and] push forward the reform of the judicial system.” The appeal is dated October 21, 2013, the day before China’s Universal Periodic Review at the Human Rights Council in Geneva. Below are copies of the original signature sheets. Read the rest of this entry »

To boycott or not: Rebecca Vincent devotes a post to this issue after seeing the Malmo Eurovision song festival

May 20, 2013

A long and very interesting blog post on Al-Jazeera (http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/05/2013519690697916.html) by Rebecca Vincent goes back to Azerbaijan 2012 and reflects on the pros and cons of boycotts as an action to tool for human rights defenders:
“As an estimated 125 million viewers tuned in to watch the grand final of the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö, Sweden, on May 18, I could not help but think how different this year’s Eurovision experience was from last year’s, when the contest was held in Baku, Azerbaijan.   Read the rest of this entry »