Posts Tagged ‘Palestinian’

Write for Rights again in December 2017

December 4, 2017

Every December, Amnesty International supporters across the globe write millions of letters and take actions for people whose human rights are under attack, in what has become the world’s biggest human rights campaign. Last year at least 4.6 million actions were taken. “For 15 years Write for Rights has given people hope in their darkest moments. Imagine being ill in jail and receiving thousands of letters of support and solidarity; or finding out that people all over the world are behind you in your quest for justice for a murdered relative. Writing letters really can change lives,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General. For last year’s see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2016/11/04/time-for-the-annual-write-for-rights-campaign/

This year Amnesty International is writing to, among others:

  • The Bangladeshi Home Minister, calling on him to bring the killers of Xulhaz Mannan to justice, without recourse to the death penalty. Xulhaz, a founder of Bangladesh’s only LGBTI magazine, was in his apartment with a colleague when men wielding machetes burst in and hacked them to death in April 2016. Despite ample evidence, the killers have yet to be charged.
  • The Prime Minister of Jamaica, telling him to protect Shackelia Jackson, who has been fighting for justice for her brother Nakiea since he was killed by police in 2014, and has refused to be silenced by police intimidation.  In the past decade around 2,000 men, usually young and poor, have been killed by police in Jamaica.
  • The Prime Minister of Israel, telling him to drop all charges against Farid al Atrash and Issa Amro, Palestinian human rights defenders, who want an end to illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land. They brave constant attacks by soldiers and settlers, and are facing ludicrous charges after they joined a peaceful protest march.

 

This year, these 10 people and groups urgently need your support:

Xulhaz Mannan

Xulhaz was a founder of Bangladesh’s only LGBTI magazine, a daring venture in a country where same-sex relations are illegal. He was in his apartment with a colleague when men wielding machetes burst in and hacked them to death. Despite ample evidence, including CCTV footage and eyewitness testimony, one year on the killers have yet to be charged for this brutal murder.

Mahadine

Tadjadine Mahamat Babouri, commonly known as Mahadine, is an online activist from Chad. In September 2016 he posted videos on Facebook criticizing the Chadian government. Within days, he was snatched off the streets, and beaten and chained up for several weeks. He faces a life sentence and is also gravely ill, having caught tuberculosis in prison.

Ni Yulan

A former lawyer, Ni Yulan has supported scores of people forced from their homes by lucrative construction projects. She has braved almost 20 years of violent harassment for defending housing rights, and has been monitored, arrested and repeatedly evicted by the authorities. She was once beaten so badly in detention that she now uses a wheelchair. Ni Yulan continues to help people stand up for their rights

Hanan Badr el-Din

Hanan Badr el Din’s life changed forever when her husband disappeared in July 2013. She last saw him on television, wounded and at a hospital after attending a protest. Hanan’s relentless search for him led her to others whose loved ones were taken by the Egyptian security forces. Now a leading voice exposing Egypt’s hundreds of disappeared, her latest search for information about her husband has seen her arrested on false charges which could result in five years in prison.

Sakris Kupila

Sakris Kupila, a 21-year-old medical student from Finland, has never identified as a woman. Yet he has to endure daily discrimination because his identity documents say he is female – the gender he was assigned at birth. To legally reassign your gender in Finland, you must be diagnosed with a “mental disorder” and sterilised. Sakris opposes this humiliating treatment. And despite threats and open hostility, he continues to demand a change to the law.

MILPAH Indigenous Movement

For the Indigenous Lenca people in Honduras, the land is their life. But huge hydroelectric, mining and other interests are out to exploit that land. MILPAH, the Independent Lenca Indigenous Movement of La Paz, is at the forefront of the struggle against them. They brave smear campaigns, death threats and physical assault to protect their environment, yet their attackers are rarely brought to justice.

Farid and Issa

Farid al-Atrash and Issa Amro are two Palestinian activists who demand an end to Israeli settlements – a war crime stemming from Israel’s 50-year occupation of Palestinian land. Dedicated to non-violence, the two activists brave constant threats and attacks by soldiers and settlers. In February 2016, Issa and Farid marched peacefully against settlements and the Israeli occupation. As a result, they face ludicrous charges apparently designed to obstruct their human rights work.

Shackelia Jackson

Shackelia Jackson will not give up. When her brother, Nakiea, was gunned down by police, she took on Jamaica’s sluggish court system to lead a bold fight for justice for his murder. In doing so, she rallied dozens of families whose loved ones were similarly killed. In response, the police have repeatedly raided and harassed her community. But Shackelia will not be silenced.

Clovis Razafimalala

Clovis is doing everything he can to protect Madagascar’s vanishing rainforest. Its rosewood trees are a precious resource under threat from a network of smugglers, bent on selling them off in what has become a billion dollar illegal trade. Clovis’ efforts to save this rare ruby-coloured tree have brought him unwanted attention. He has been convicted on false charges and could be jailed at any moment

Turkey

Right now, 11 people who have dedicated their lives to defending the human rights of journalists, activists and other dissenting voices in Turkey are themselves in danger. Among them are Amnesty International’s Director, İdil Eser, and its chair, Taner Kılıç, who remains in prison after five months. All are on trial for ‘terrorism’-related crimes, an absurd charge and face a jail sentence of up to 15 years.

Amnesty International’s Brave campaign calls on governments around the world to protect human rights defenders.

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2017/11/amnesty-launches-worlds-biggest-human-rights-campaign/

Israel denies work permit to Human Rights Watch and continues harassment of HRDs

February 26, 2017

Image of Israeli security forces [Issam Rimawi - Anadolu Agency]

Image of Israeli security forces [Issam Rimawi – Anadolu Agency]
The Israeli occupation authorities have denied a work permit for the director of Human Rights Watch (HRW) in Israel and Palestinian territories, they said on Friday 24 February 2017. Israel accused the organisation of “engaging in politics in the service of Palestinian propaganda, while falsely raising the banner of ‘human rights’.” In response, HRW said that this comes as the Israelis seek to limit the space for local and international human rights groups to operate in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. “This decision and the spurious rationale should worry anyone concerned about Israel’s commitment to basic democratic values,” commented Deputy Executive Director of Programmes at HRW, Lain Levine. “It is disappointing that the Israeli government seems unable or unwilling to distinguish between justified criticisms of its actions and hostile political propaganda.”  The next day sixteen NGOs working in Israel issued a statement deploring the decision not to allow Omar Shakir of Human Rights Watch (HRW). “We stand in solidarity with him and our colleagues at HRW.”  “Neither closing Israel’s borders to human rights organizations and activists nor other measures by the Israeli government against organizations that criticize the occupation will deter us from continuing to report human rights violations in the territories controlled by Israel. Attempts to silence the messenger will not suppress our message,” concluded the NGOs that include: Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Akevot, Amnesty International Israel, Bimkom, Breaking the Silence, B’Tselem, Coalition of Women for Peace, Emek Shaveh, Gisha, Hamoked: Center for the Defense of the Individual, Haqel-Jews and Arabs in Defense of Human Rights, Human Rights Defenders Fund, Machsom Watch, Physicians for Human Rights Israel, The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel and Yesh Din.
Noting that the Israeli Knesset (parliament) passed a law last July that targeted human rights groups and imposed onerous reporting requirements which burden their advocacy, HRW suggested that the permit denial comes amid increasing pressure on human rights defenders operating in Israel and Palestine. “Israeli officials have directly accused Israeli advocacy groups of ‘slander’ and discrediting the state or army.” [see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2016/01/13/why-did-so-many-assume-btselem-fire-was-arson/ and https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2016/01/05/michael-sfardjan-israels-human-rights-activists-arent-traitors/]
Moreover, Palestinian rights defenders have received anonymous death threats and have been subject to travel restrictions and even arrests and criminal charges.[see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2016/12/21/palestinian-human-rights-defenders-continue-to-be-persecuted/]. Front Line Defenders reported on 25 January 2017 that Israeli occupation forces arrested human rights defenders Ms Lema Nazeeh and Mr Mohammed Khatib – along with four other peaceful protesters –  near the illegal Israeli settlement of Ma’ale Adumim in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Israeli forces then went on to ill-treat Lema Nazeeh throughout her four days in detention at Al-Maskubiyyah prison in Jerusalem. On 23 January 2017, Israeli occupation forces also arrested human rights defender Mr Abdallah Abu Rahma as he attended the court hearing of the two aforementioned defenders. Lema Nazeeh and Mohammed Khatib were arrested while participating in a peaceful protest against illegal settlement construction in Bab Al-Shams in East Jerusalem, otherwise known as the E1 area/settlement bloc. The protest was also against US President Donald Trump’s suggested plan to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Three days after the protest, Abdallah Abu Rahma was arrested on suspicion that he had also taken part in the peaceful protest. All human rights defenders were released on bail, pending trial. (https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/profile/lema-nazeeh; https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/case-history-mohammed-khatib and https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/profile/abdallah-abu-rahma)

Human Rights Watch is an independent, international, nongovernmental organisation and monitors rights violations in more than 90 countries across the world.” It also has staff who work legally in its registered offices in some 24 countries around the world, including LebanonJordan and Tunisia. “While the Israeli government is hardly the only one to disagree with our well-researched findings,” concluded Levine, “its efforts to stifle the messenger signal that it has no appetite for serious scrutiny of its human rights record.

Sources:

Israel denies work permit for Human Rights Watch director – Middle East Monitor

http://english.wafa.ps/page.aspx?id=dJyp7Ba54219464904adJyp7B

Palestinian human rights defenders continue to be persecuted

December 21, 2016

Sources:

Amnesty slams Israel’s detention of Palestinian human rights defender – Middle East Monitor

https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/israel-threatens-expel-reporter-who-asked-apartheid-question

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-palumboliu/israel-puts-celebrated-_b_13590812.html

http://ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=21041&LangID=E

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=16906&LangID=E

Drawn to peace: Hani Abbas has a dangerous pen

September 7, 2016

On 6 September 2016 True Heroes Films (THF) published a short video on Syrian-Palestinian cartoonist Hani Abbas, who is the laureate of the 2014 Cartooning for Peace Award.
See also: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/05/23/cartooning-for-peace-award-in-euronews-video-clip/

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.

 

“I shall not hate” message of Palestinian doctor not enough (for some)

April 13, 2016

A post in the Canadian Jewish News (CJN) by Myron Love (on 11 April 2016) reports that University of Manitoba professor Haskel Greenfield expressed outrage about an exhibit at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights that highlights, among 17 other human rights defenders, the story of Izzeldin Abuelaish, a Palestinian doctor from Gaza who lost three daughters and a niece when an Israeli missile hit his home during Operation Cast Lead in 2009. In Greenfield’s words, the interactive exhibit that includes Abuelaish is “a disgusting, one-sided portrayal of a complex situation. It completely ignored the fact that Hamas used yards and roofs of residences, schools and hospitals to launch their missiles. The Palestinian family portrayed was a tragic example of collateral damage in a war started by their Hamas government.” Greenfield is an archeologist and acting head of U of M’s Judaic studies program. He said it’s “very clear to me that the exhibit is not about human rights at all. It is an opportunity for Israel bashing and subtle anti-Semitism. The exhibit only focuses on what the Israelis have done to Palestinians – and, in particular to one Palestinian family – without any context as to why it happened.” 

Read the rest of this entry »

Family of human rights defender Corrie decry dismissal by Israeli Supreme Court

February 13, 2015

The family of Rachel Corrie arrive at an Israeli court before hearing the verdict in her civil suit in August 2012. (Photo: Getty Images)

The family of Rachel Corrie arrive at an Israeli court before hearing the verdict in her civil suit in August 2012. (Photo: Getty Images)

Mondoweiss Editors on 12 February 2015 disseminated the following statement by the family of Rachel Corriea 23-year-old American peace activist from Olympia, Washington, who was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer on 16 March 2003, while protecting the home of a Palestinian family from demolition:

Today we received word from our attorneys that the Supreme Court of Israel dismissed our appeal in the wrongful death case of our daughter and sister Rachel Corrie.  Our family is disappointed but not surprised. We had hoped for a different outcome, though we have come to see through this experience how deeply all of Israel’s institutions are implicated in the impunity enjoyed by the Israeli military.

It will take some time before we have ability to read the decision in English and to process all the court has said. Nevertheless, it is clear that this decision, affirming the August 2012 lower court finding, amounts to judicial sanction of immunity for Israeli military forces when they commit injustices and human rights violations.

The Supreme Court decision ignores international law arguments regarding the protection of civilians and human rights defenders in armed conflict and grossly violates the internationally recognized right to effective remedy.

The court has determined that our separate case against Dr. Yehuda Hiss and Abu Kabir Institute, regarding inappropriate ways in which Rachel’s autopsy was conducted, may go forward in the lower court. We continue to be appalled that it requires a lawsuit to have a truthful accounting of what occurred, and complete repatriation of Rachel’s remains. Decisions as to next steps will be made by the family in consultation with our attorneys.

Despite the verdict, our family remains convinced we were correct in bringing this case forward.  The day after Rachel was killed, Prime Minister Sharon promised President Bush a thorough, credible and transparent investigation. Clearly, that standard was not met. The U.S. government continues to call for such an investigation by Israel.  A civil lawsuit cannot substitute for an impartial investigation, but it is the only process through which a family can discover more information and move forward when governments fail to act.

Rachel’s case provides yet another example of how the Israeli justice system is failing to provide accountability. We urge the international community, and not least the U.S. government, to stand with victims of human rights violations and against impunity, and to uphold fundamental tenants of international justice.

We are immensely grateful to our attorney Hussein Abu Hussein and to his entire legal team for the decade of work they have contributed to Rachel’s case, and continue to provide.  We are grateful to all of our friends in Palestine, Israel, and elsewhere, who in so many different ways have supported our efforts.

We have taken this path for Rachel, the daughter and sister we love, lost, and miss. Her spirit lives. She has inspired all of our actions and will continue to do so.

———–

For more information about the trial visit: http://rachelcorriefoundation.org/trial

Corrie statement on Israeli Supreme Court dismissal: ‘this decision amounts to judicial sanction of immunity for Israeli military forces’.

Alkarama award ceremony for Palestinian human rights defender Shireen Issawi on 11 December

December 1, 2014

Palestinian Lawyer Shireen Issawi to Receive 2014 Alkarama Award for Human Rights Defenders

On the occasion of Human Rights Day, the Geneva-based NGO Alkarama will present the 2014 Alkarama Award for Human Rights Defenders to Shireen Issawi, prominent lawyer and human rights defender from the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The event will be held on 11 December 2014 at 18:30 at the Ecumenical Center in Geneva (Switzerland).

Cartooning for Peace Award handed over by Kofi Annan in Geneva

May 5, 2014

3 May 2014 Cartooning for Peace award, Geneva (c) THF

3 May 2014 Cartooning for Peace award, Geneva (c) THF

In case you noticed, my post of yesterday about the Cartooning for Peace Award came a day late; sorry. The award ceremony took place on Saturday 3 May, International Day for Press Freedom. To make up for the error here are the winners (Palestinian-Syrian Hani Abbasi, and Egyptian Doaa Eladl), in company of inter alia Kofi Annan and municipal councillor Guillaume Barazzone. The exhibit remains to be visited along the Quai Wilson in Geneva until 3 July 2014. Also present were the well-known cartoonists Chappatte, Plantu et Liza Donnelly. More information and links in my post of yesterday:

https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/05/04/cartooning-for-peace-international-award-and-exhibit-in-geneva-as-from-today/

Israel refuses to let HRD Shawan Jabarin travel to receive award in Denmark

November 30, 2011

Map showing the West Bank and Gaza Strip in re...

Image via Wikipedia

On 29 November 29, 2011 Israeli authorities turned West Bank resident Shawan Jabarin, the director of the Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq, back at the Allenby Bridge crossing with Jordan, citing a travel ban. Several NGOs, such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and B’Tselem, said that the Israeli authorities violated Jabarin’s rights in imposing the ban and have not produced any evidence that would justify continuing to restrict him from travel.

The travel ban would seem to be clearly linked to his human rights work as Jabarin was stopped since 2006, when he became director of Al-Haq, a leading human rights organization in the West Bank, while Israel had allowed him to travel abroad eight times in the previous seven years. The Israeli military previously claimed in court that Jabarin was an activist in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which Israel considers a terrorist organization, and that his travel abroad for even a limited period would endanger Israel’s security. However, Israeli authorities have not charged Jabarin with any crime or given him an opportunity to confront the allegations against him. The Israeli High Court of Justice has upheld Jabarin’s travel ban on security grounds, but did so based on secret information that Jabarin and his lawyer were not allowed to see or challenge. “It is hard to believe any claim that Jabarin’s travel to Denmark to receive a human rights award would harm Israeli security, the more so when any evidence is kept secret,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “While civil society groups recognize Jabarin’s courageous work, Israel is punishing him with a travel ban.”

The ban has prevented Jabarin from leaving the West Bank to receive a human rights prize from the Danish PL Foundation (Poul Lauritzen), participate in a European Union forum on human rights, and attend a Human Rights Watch meeting in New York City.  “The ban preventing Shawan Jabarin from traveling abroad to receive an award is emblematic of the arbitrary restrictions placed on Palestinian human rights defenders and civil society activists,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s MENA Programme Director. “It must be lifted, and the Israeli authorities must stop using unspecified security concerns to obstruct the work of Palestinian human rights activists.”  Nina Atallah, the head of Al-Haq’s monitoring and documentation department, will try to travel to the prize ceremony.

It is a pity that Israel,in this respect, is emulating Iran, which is the only country until now to prevent the MEA Laureate Emad Baghi to travel to his ceremony in 2009.
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