Posts Tagged ‘PL Foundation’

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...

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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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