More than 23,000 people have signed an appeal urging the UN to take measures to protect the rights of Palestinian, Israeli and international human rights defenders who campaign nonviolently for Palestinian rights, including through the BDS movement.
The appeal is organised by the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the broadest coalition of Palestinian civil society organisations that leads and supports the BDS movement. It will be sent to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in the coming few days.
The appeal urges UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein to publicly state his opposition to Israel’s ongoing efforts to criminalize and demonize the BDS movement, pressure governments to protect the right of activists to campaign for Palestinian rights through BDS tactics, activate relevant UN mechanisms to defend BDS human rights defenders everywhere.
The appeal is in response to Israel’s legal attacks on BDS that have led governments in the UK, France, Canada and state legislatures across the US to introduce anti-democratic legislation and taking other repressive measures to undermine the BDS movement. Israel has also admitted that it is using its intelligence services to spy on BDS activists overseas and is attempting to revoke the residency of BDS movement co-founder and human rights defender Omar Barghouti.
The appeal follows positive news that the Irish, Dutch and Swedish governments have spoken out in support of the right to advocate for BDS.
The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) yesterday joined Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch in issuing a public statement in support of the right to “participate in and call for” BDS.
FIDH is a federation of 178 of the world’s most respected human rights organisations from 120 countries.
“Individuals calling for Israel to respect international law, using peaceful means to do so while respecting others’ rights, are human rights defenders. As such, they must be protected,” the statement explains.
Riya Hassan, Europe Campaigns officer with the BNC, said:
“We’re hugely grateful to each of the 23,000 people who signed our appeal urging the UN to protect our right to campaign for Palestinian rights, and we’re more optimistic than ever that Israel’s desperate legal, spying and propaganda war on our human rights movement will ultimately fail.”
“Israel’s attacks on our movement appear to be backfiring as they have led to European governments and some of the world’s most famous human rights organisations and political organisations across Europe and the world speaking out in defence of our right to engage in BDS. Israel’s lawfare against BDS has been dealt a very serious blow.”
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