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BNC oral statement at UN Human Rights Council

Human Rights Council, HRC 32, June 2016

Oral statement, item 7 (OPT)

Presented by Badil*

Mr. President,

Badil, al Haq, al Mizan and the Palestinian BDS National Committee wish to bring attention to the increasing Israeli attacks on the right to freedom of opinion and expression of individuals, groups, and associations defending the human rights of the Palestinian people, and to ensure the right of oppressed people to resist by legitimate means institutionalized discrimination, occupation and foreign domination.

In Israel and the OPT, civil society organisations acting as human rights defenders  are targeted for documenting Israeli human rights abuses, organizing non-violent protests, cooperating with the United Nations and the International Criminal Court, and campaigning for boycotts, divestment and sanctions. This work is integral in promoting respect of human rights, the rule of law, democracy, and the principles of IHL.

Human rights defenders face criminalization, travel bans, temporary forcible relocation and revocation of residency by Israel, violent attacks by Israeli citizens and death threats. The Israeli authorities and settlers enjoy impunity, including for acts of torture, arbitrary arrest, unlawful imprisonment, and violence.

In 2012, the previous Special Rapporteur, Frank La Rue, affirmed that the right to freedom of expression includes the right to call for peaceful boycotts. Nevertheless, the Israeli government is relentlessly attacking this right through campaigns of false allegations, lawsuits, and attempts to limit the access of human rights organizations and defenders to sources of finance. Further, Israel continues to lobby western governments to adopt legislation which curbs freedom of expression.

The Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International Federation for Human Rights have all called for respect of the right to boycott and protection of human rights defenders, in particular those of the BDS Movement. 

We therefore call to take all possible measures to ensure the protection of Palestinian and international human rights defenders, and of the right to call for BDS as a vehicle for the realization of the fundamental human rights of the Palestinian people, including that of self-determination and return of the refugees.

Thank You.

*Also presented to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Freedom of Opinion and Expression by Badil


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