GENEVA - Allow human rights and humanitarian organizations to continue their work in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), UN agencies and other partners have urged Israel.
On Thursday morning, Israeli Forces broke into, searched and sealed the offices of seven Palestinian human rights and humanitarian organizations³ in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.
Their property was confiscated and destroyed and military orders closing the offices were left at the premises.
UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Palestine Lynn Hastings said that attempted closures “affect all institutions working to promote human rights and development and are delivering assistance”.
The United Nations and its partners take seriously allegations of funding terrorism as well as the Israeli designations of these entities as unlawful and/or terror organizations.
Despite offers to review the accusations to determine if funds have been diverted, Israeli authorities have not given any compelling evidence to UN agencies nor NGO partners working in the OPT to support these designations.
Several Member States recently announced that the evidence which was shared with them does not justify the designations.
“The attempted closures of these organization offices represent the latest in a series of actions by Israel that are further limiting the ability of human rights, humanitarian and development work in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, which affect all institutions working to promote human rights, development and delivering assistance,” the UN Agencies and the Association of International Development Agencies said in a statement.
Follow international law
The statement reiterated a previous one issued last November upholding that counter-terrorism legislation must be in accordance with obligations under international law, particularly international humanitarian law and human rights law.
This includes full respect for the rights to freedom of association and expression.
It cannot be applied to legitimate human rights and humanitarian work; the breadth of the Israeli 2016 Anti-Terrorism legislation and its impact on the presumption of innocence present serious concerns under international law.
“We urge the Government of Israel to refrain from any action that would prevent these organizations from continuing their critical human rights, humanitarian and development work in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” the statement concluded.