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Amnesty opposes Israel’s attempt to deport Human Rights Watch Director

Amnesty International has joined a legal case initially brought by Human Rights Watch (HRW) to challenge the Israeli governments decision to revoke HRW’s Israel and Palestine Director’s work permit.

Last May Israel’s Ministry of Interior initially revoked the work permit of HRW’s Israel and Palestine Director, Omar Shakir. In their case they cited a 201 “anti-boycott” amendment to the Entry to Israel Law which refuses entry to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories to anyone who supports or calls for a boycott of Israel. The court cited that Shakir has continuously called for boycotts of Israel as well as citing his student activism from 2006 before he joined HRW.

HRW has stated that neither the organisation nor Shakir promotes boycotting Israel. HRW’s advocacy has focused on the Israelis occupied West Bank where businesses operating in West Bank settlements benefit and contribute to serious violations of international humanitarian law.

​Read more here: Israel court orders deportation of Human Rights Watch official

 

Shakir was initially ordered to leave the country within two weeks but HRW challenged the decision in the Jerusalem District Court which temporarily paused his deportation but in April of this year the Interior Ministry’s order was upheld. 

They provided the director until 1 May to leave but HRW and Shakir have appealed the decision to the Supreme Court which is expected to provide a ruling next Thursday. Amnesty further spoke to the court in support of HRW on the 18 July maintained that expelling Shakir would constitute an unjust restriction of the right to freedom of expression and association.

Amnesty International’s Middle East Deputy Director, Saleh Higazi, has described Israel’s decision as: 

“a crushing blow to freedom of expression in the country, and sends an alarming signal to human rights activists and civil society in general of the extent they are willing to go in their attempt to silence those who defend human rights”.

Whilst Amnesty has condemned this decision they maintained that they do not take "a view on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign and has never called for or endorsed specific boycotts". They insist that "it is up to individuals and organisations to determine which peaceful strategies to use in furtherance of human rights".

Read more here