UN Special Rapporteur on the OPT, Michael Lynk, and the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders, Michel Forst, have issued a statement denouncing that human rights activists in the occupied Palestinian territories face "daily violations of some of the most fundamental protections afforded by international human rights and humanitarian laws". The statement has been also endorsed by Mr. Roland Adjovi, Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Mr. David Kaye, Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, and Mr. Maina Kiai, Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association.
The UN experts state that
"We have received a worrying number of complaints in recent months regarding human rights defenders who are arrested and, in many cases, arbitrarily detained, often apparently as a direct result of their important work in their communities”.
“Human rights work is critical to creating a just society and maintaining peace and security. These are the goals all parties ultimately share.”
“However, it appears that rights defenders are facing ever greater challenges in the OPT.”
The UN Special Rapporteurs cited in particular four recent cases:
- Issa Amro, founder of the Hebron-based group Youth Against Settlements, and Farid al-Atrash, a lawyer from Hebron
- Salah Khawaja, member of the coordinating committee of Stop the Wall and BNC secretariat member
- Hasan Safadi, media coordinator for Addameer human rights organization.
For the full press release, please see: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=21041&LangID=E