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Israel court orders deportation of Human Rights Watch official

The Jerusalem District Court upheld the Israeli government’s order to deport Omar Shakir, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) Israel and Palestine director.

The court’s ruling was in response to a lawsuit filed by HRW and Shakir in May 2018 to challenge the Israeli government’s decision to revoke Shakir’s work permit.

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.

See more from Human Rights Watch here.

In 2017, the Israeli government enacted an amendment to the Law on Entry which authorises the interior minister to refuse entry to activists or representatives of any organisations who publicly call for a boycott of Israel or participate in such a boycott.

“The decision sends the chilling message that those who criticise the involvement of businesses in serious abuses in Israeli settlements risk being barred from Israel and the Israeli-occupied West Bank,” Tom Porteous, the deputy program director at HRW said.

The court has ordered Shakir to leave the country by May 1. HRW will appeal the decision to Israel’s Supreme Court.

Read more here.