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Smear Campaign against Human Rights NGOs

Smear Campaign against Human Rights NGOs

International Federation for Human Rights
Karine Appy
Paris-Geneva, April 27, 2010. The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), condemns the smear campaign launched against twelve Israeli human rights organisations, including Adalah - The Legal Centre for Arab Minority in Israel and the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI).
On April 16, 2010, the nationalist Israeli movement of “Im Tirtzu” - “The Second Zionist Revolution” - released a report, which was featured in the Israeli Hebrew daily Ma’ariv by journalist Ben Caspit, accusing at least twelve Israeli human rights organisations[1] of support for or involvement in the indictment of Israeli officials for serious violations of international law in court overseas, under the principle of universal jurisdiction.

This report points to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights in Gaza (PCHR) as the mastermind of legal action against Israeli politicians and army generals under universal jurisdiction and attempts to describe links between PCHR and Israeli human rights organisations, as well as the New Israel Fund (NIF) and the Ford Foundation for providing funding to these organisations. Mr. Hassan Jabareen, Adalah’s General Director, is particularly targeted for having given a legal expert opinion in one of the universal jurisdiction cases based on a request by PCHR, on the question of lack of domestic remedies for Gaza victims under Israeli law.

Further, Im Tirtzu launched a billboard campaign, timed to coincide with Memorial Day for the Soldiers on April 19, and Israeli Independence Day, on April 20, de-legitimising Adalah and NIF action through defaming slogans such as “NIF and Adalah are subversive” and “We salute and NIF and Adalah persecute”. Im Tirtzu had already started its first campaign against human rights organisations in February 2010, which focused on their provision of information to the United Nations (UN) Independent Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict led by former Justice Richard Goldstone.

The Observatory strongly condemns these slanderous statements inciting to hatred and urges the Israeli authorities to take measures to ensure the protection of human rights defenders and organisations as provided in the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually or in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”.

The Observatory also calls upon European Union Member States to urge the Israeli authorities to comply with the relevant international norms and standards, including the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders as well as international human rights instruments ratified by Israel, in order to create an environment where human rights defenders can operate without fear or any hindrances.

For further information, please contact:

· FIDH: Karine Appy, + 33 1 43 55 14 12