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Renewed Attack on Human Rights Organisations will not Stop their Work PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 06 March 2000 00:00

 

 

Press Release

Renewed Attack on Human Rights Organisations will not Stop their Work

Date: 6 March 2000

Ref: 34/2000

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights expresses its deep concern at the renewal of the campaign of attacks launched by a number of senior officials in the PNA against NGOs in general and human rights organisations in particular. PCHR believes that this is a very poor and unjustified attempt by some people to incite public opinion against NGOs and human rights organisations by defaming and discrediting them baselessly.

In the latest development the daily newspaper Al Hayat Al Jadida published yesterday, 5 March 1999, statements from the General Director of the Palestinian Intelligence Service in the West Bank. In his statements he accused the Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment (LAW) of publishing false information to incite people against the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinian security official described LAW, in his statement, as one amongst several suspicious institutions, whose work is to destroy the PNA’s reputation.

Such statements were made in reaction to the criticisms issued by Palestinian human rights organisations, including LAW, of the PNA’s arrest of tens of students from Birzeit University who protested against the French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin during his visit to the University on 26 February 2000. The students’ protest followed provocative statements made by Jospin during his visit to the region in which he described the legitimate Lebanese resistance against Israeli occupation in Lebanon as terrorism. These statements were condemned by PCHR and other human rights organisations. They go against French policy in the Middle East, and they contradict international humanitarian law and human rights principles, which guarantee the right to self-determination and the right to resist occupation. These are, in fact, the very rights practiced by the French resistance during the Nazi occupation of France.

In light of these developments PCHR emphasizes the following:

  1. PCHR condemns the ongoing and renewed attempts by some Palestinian officials to destroy the reputation of Palestinian human rights groups. PCHR believes that the only reason behind these attacks is the consistent work done by human rights organisations against human rights violations and to promote the rule of law and respect public freedoms. It seems that this work is not welcomed by some Palestinian officials.
  2. While PCHR remains concerned at all forms of violence, particularly on the University campus, we believe that the students reaction at the University reflected feelings of extreme frustration at the provocative statements of the French Prime Minister. Particularly as these came at a time when Israel continues its aggressive and hostile measures in both Lebanon and Palestine, in defiance of both international law and UN resolutions. Instead of effective measures being taken by the international community, including France, against the illegal Israeli measures in the Arab occupied territories, the French Prime Minister made statements which cast the victim in the role of the criminal. This has no possible interpretation other than support for the occupying power.
  3. PCHR welcomes the decision made by the Palestinian President ordering the release of all Birzeit students arrested in this context. PCHR calls for the preservation of the important role of the Palestinian student movement, which has always reflected the aspirations of the people and has always been at the forefront of the struggle against the occupation. Furthermore, the student movement is a living symbol of the importance of the right to freedom of expression
 

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