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The United Nations says Israel is putting human rights defenders at risk with their decision to designate several Palestinian NGOs as terrorists based on no evidence.
The designation by the Israeli government of 6 prominent Palestinian civil society groups as outlawed “terrorist organizations” is an unjustified attack, said the United Nations Commissioner of Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, on Tuesday.
Last Friday, the Israeli government classified 6 Palestinian NGOs as “terrorist,” basing their decision under the pretense that those organizations were “financing the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.”
Bachelet said the decision was an attack on human rights defenders, on freedoms of association, opinion and expression, and the right to public participation, calling for the move to be immediately revoked. The commissioner argued the decision would have “a chilling effect” on human rights defenders.
“Anti-terrorism legislation” should not be applied to legitimate human rights and humanitarian aid activities, she asserted.
“The organizations… face far-reaching consequences as a result of this arbitrary decision, as do the people who fund them and work with them,” she said.
Israel's designation of six leading Palestinian civil society groups as outlawed "terrorist organizations" is an unjustified attack, the UN human rights chief said Tuesday.https://t.co/PHsZzZd75N
The NGOs Israel designated as “terrorist” have been delivering humanitarian aid to Palestinians harmed by the Israeli occupation and those who have suffered human rights abuses in the occupied territories. “The crucial work they perform for thousands of Palestinians risks being halted or severely restricted,” Bachelet added.
The Commissioner also argued that claiming rights before the United Nations or other international bodies does not constitute an act of terrorism, citing advocating for women's rights in the occupied Palestinian territories and providing legal aid to detained Palestinians.
She stressed that those actions are not acts of terrorism while pointing to the obvious: The Israeli occupation did not present any evidence to support its allegations against the NGOs, nor did it conduct a public process to establish the accusations.