Israel: Harassment of human rights defenders in the West Bank

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On 9 July, Alkarama sent an urgent appeal to the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders to call upon Israeli authorities to respect their obligation to let defenders carry out their work freely. In particular, Alkarama brought the Special Rapporteur's attention on the case of Badia Dwaik, a respected human rights activist for the Palestinian cause, who has been continuously subjected to reprisals and harassment for his work documenting Israel's violations against Palestinians.

Founder and Coordinator of two peaceful movements, the and Youth Against Settlements, which monitor and document Israel's violations against Palestinians and coordinate non-violent actions against the Israeli colonisation, Mr. Badee M. T. Al Dwaik is under constant risk of reprisals and harassment for his work. On 26 June, as Dwaik was approaching the contested Al Rajabi building in Hebron to investigate the violations against Palestinian families, Israeli soldiers threw stun grenades at him before assaulting and hitting him.

Dwaik has been subjected to harassment and intimidation for his work on human rights for years. He was notably arrested and detained 22 times in total. On 24 February 2012 for instance, he was arrested with five other activists in the midst of an excessively violent dispersion of an 8,000-Palestinian-strong demonstration in Hebron. Two years later, as another peaceful protest was held for the same reason – the re-opening of Shuhada Street – Dwaik was again violently arrested and detained for four days.

Alkarama is particularly concerned, especially with the resumption of Israeli violence in Gaza, that Dwaik and other human rights defenders are at increased risks of serious violations of their rights. Alkarama therefore requested that the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders take all measures deemed necessary to ensure that Dwaik and other human rights activists do not suffer from harassment, intimidation and violence, including by reminding the Israeli authorities of their international obligation to ensure defenders their right to peacefully exert their right to freedom of expression.

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