8 November 2021 - occupied Palestinian territory

Services to children will be hit hard by outlawing six Palestinian groups in the West Bank: Save the Children

Statement

The outlawing of six leading Palestinian human rights groups from the occupied West Bank from today will have severe consequences for children and their families receiving healthcare and legal support, among other services from these organisations, Save the Children warned.

The charity has condemned a decision by the Israeli government to criminalise these groups with a military order released on Sunday that takes effect immediately and allows for office closures, arrests and deportations.

This followed an earlier ruling on October 19th which designated these groups as ‘terrorist organisations’ and prohibited their activities inside Israel. The Israeli government claimed these organisations had ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a group designated by the EU, Israel, and the United States as a terrorist organisation. 

Human Rights Groups, the Palestinian Authority, and UN human rights experts have called on Israel to reverse the decision, with OHCHR describing it as “an unjustified attack on Palestinian civil society”, stating “there is no evidence presented to support these accusations…nor has any public process been conducted to establish the allegations.”

Save the Children said the decision would have severe consequences for the children and families who receive critical services from these organisations. Their work includes delivering healthcare, ensuring children who are detained have legal representation and working to promote gender justice and equality.  

Save the Children’s Country Director in the occupied Palestinian territory, Jason Lee said:

“We are proud to stand in solidarity with these organisations who provide crucial services to Palestinians, including children, and who play a vital role in monitoring and reporting human rights violations.  

“Unsubstantiated allegations delegitimise and disrupt this essential work - compromising Palestinian children’s rights and access to justice and hindering the delivery of their invaluable work. Civil Society is integral to the functioning of a democratic state and the promotion of children’s rights in the oPt, Israel, and across the globe.

“Along with UN Human Rights Experts, we are urging the international community to intervene and defend the defenders. All possible measures should be taken to publicly condemn unsubstantiated accusations, as well as to express support and protection for civil society and those who work in partnership with them.”

Note to editors

  • The six organisations who have been affected by the military order are: Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Al-Haq Law in the Service of Man, Bisan Center for Research and Development, Defense for Children International-Palestine, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees and the Union for Palestinian Women’s Committees
  • Under Article 84(1)(a)-(b), the military commander has granted itself sweeping powers to carry out property demolitions, censorship measures, suppression of protests, closures, curfews, administrative detentions, and deportations as well.
  • Article 251 of Military Order 1651, promulgated in 2009, renders any individual supporting/working with such organization liable to a 10-year prison sentence and the director/leader of such an organization to 25 years’ prison sentence. 

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