Following the amendment of Law No. 1 on Charitable Associations and Civil Society Organisations and publication in the official papers on 2nd February 2021, civil society organisations (CSOs) issued a statement to express their absolute rejection of this law due to concerns that it intends to further restrict civic space. In another development, MADA Center documentation indicates a decline in the number of violations in Palestine, with 21 violations in February 2021, compared to a total of 37 violations during January 2021. The violations include the obstructing journalists from doing their work, harassment and detention of journalists.
Following the amendment of Law No. 1 on Charitable Associations and Civil Society Organisations and publication in the official papers on 2nd February 2021, civil society organisations (CSOs) issued a statement to express their absolute rejection of this law.
The statement highlights the lack of transparency for the proposed amendments and the fact that the Charitable Associations and Civil Society Organisations Law No. 1 of 2000, which was ratified by the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) as one of the most advanced laws in the Arab region. Several position papers issued by Palestinian human rights organisations indicate that the amendments hamper the independence of civil society and violates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 20) and The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Article 22).
Al-Haq Position Paper on— Al-Haq الحق (@alhaq_org) March 10, 2021
The Law by Decree No. 7 of 2021 Concerning the Amendment of the Law No. 1 of 2000 on Charitable Associations and Civil Society Organisations and its Amendmentshttps://t.co/A6P6eQv6yb
The law will result in restricting civic space in the following ways:
Based on this analysis, CSOs in Palestine reject the Law by Decree No. 7 of 2021 regarding the amendment to the Charitable Associations and Civil Society Organisations Law, and demand its immediate cancellation. The statement also calls on the UN Special Rapporteur regarding the right to form associations, on the impacts of the amended associations’ law and its effect on the right to form associations in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Targeting of HRDs
On 22nd March 2021, the Military Court of Offer sentenced human rights defender (HRD) Issa Amro to a three-month suspended sentence with a two-year probation period, and a fine of 3,500 NIS (approximately 900 Euros). He faces possible imprisonment if he is found participating in peaceful demonstrations during the probation period.
Whereas the human rights defender’s situation, along with others attending demonstrations, remains a key concern, on 19th March 2021, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Al-Haq, Law in the Service of Man, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights and the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies sent a joint submission to United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders. The input by the organisations highlighted Israel’s use of administrative detention against Palestinians, without charge or trial, for indefinite periods of time on the grounds of “secret information” to which neither they nor their legal counsel have access. The submission recommended the recognition of administrative detention as a form of psychological torture inflicted on Palestinians, including HRDs, as detainees are subjected to detention without fair trial guarantees, as well as the indefinite period of detention, where orders can be renewed every six months, indefinitely.
“Palestinian civil society organisations and human rights defenders have endured systematic intimidation, including death threats, arbitrary arrests, travel bans, residency revocation and deportation, in an attempt to further restrict civic space, delegitimize, oppress, and dominate them. Israel’s policy of prolonged detention and imprisonment of Palestinians also aims to tear the Palestinian social fabric and rupture family and community ties, which form an important part of solidarity movements.”
Israel uses arbitrary arrest &long-term detention of #HRDs to oppress & dominate as part of institutionalized effort to silence Palestinians &challenges to Israeli #apartheid. @almezancenter &civil society submit to UN Expert @CIHRS_en @alhaq_org @Addameerhttps://t.co/9JukZN5x17— Al Mezan Center (@AlMezanCenter) March 22, 2021
MADA Center documentation indicates a decline in the number of violations in Palestine, with 21 violations in February 2021, compared to a total of 37 violations during January 2021. The violations include:
As documented by the Coalition for Women in Journalism (CFWIJ), on 20th November 2021, radio journalist and anchor Aseel Soliman was threatened with expulsion for expressing her opinion about the new approach to normalising relations with Israel. The broadcaster’s management suspended the journalist, launched an investigation into the episode and removed that particular episode from its website. It was reported that the journalist and her father faced threats of detention in an attempt to intimidate them.
اذاعة راية تعاقب الصحافية اسيل سليمان بسبب هذا المقطع الذي تحدثت فيه عن عودة التنسيق الامني وعن انتصار حسين الشيخ— مش هيك (@meshhek) November 19, 2020
الاذاعة قامت بحذف الحلقة من موقعها وصفحتها على الفيس بوك ، وقامت الاجهزة الامنية بتهديد الصحافية واهلها
مقطع قوي وكلمات نارية 👍
On the other hand, the Annual Report for 2020 issued by Mada Center sheds light on the situation of various key civic space components including press freedom, legal and societal restrictions on press freedom, independence of media work, diversity of content, self-censorship and government procedures, financing policies, transparency and access to information, and self-regulation of journalists and their protection and indicates that "government policies are still lacking real measures that would enhance press freedom in Palestine". While the decrease in the number of violations should be noted, the annual report concludes thatthere has been no change regarding the right to access information law, judicial protection for press freedom is still weak and passive, and self-censorship continues to severely limit freedom of the press.