Statement of the Chair Manu Pineda on the designation of Palestinian rights groups as ‘terrorist organizations’ by Israel

Brussels, 25/10/2021

I am deeply concerned about Israel's designation of six Palestinian human rights groups as 'terror organizations', which seriously constrains legitimate human rights and humanitarian work. These organizations are Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Al-Haq Law in the Service of Man, Bisan Centre for Research and Development, Defence for Children International - Palestine, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, and the Union of Palestinian Women's Committees. They do an invaluable work in the defence of human rights and are important partners with which the Delegation for relations with Palestine of the European Parliament has regularly met and discussed the situation in Palestine.

I stress the clear position of the UN Human Rights Office in the occupied Palestinian territory, on 22 October 2021, calling on "Israel to fully respect the rights to freedom of association and expression, without any interference or harassment against the organizations or their staff". This is the last step in a campaign to delegitimise Palestinian human rights organisations and civil society. Human rights defenders have long been subjected to detentions, raids in their offices, and other attacks on their work by the Israeli occupation authorities, but the repercussions of this new declaration can have an extremely damaging impact on Palestine's civil society.

I express my full support for the work of these Palestinian civil society human rights groups recalling the long-standing cooperation of many of them with the EU, which must continue. I call on this decision to be reverted in order for these civil society groups and their staff to be protected and their capacity to continue working to be ensured.

For further information contact:

Office of Mr Manu Pineda
Tel. (+32) 2 28 45815

EuroMed and Middle East Unit