8 February 2010 — Palestinian Centre for Human Rights Press Release Ref: 07/2010
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the continued persecution of international human rights defenders in the West Bank by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) and the deportation of international activists from the country. PCHR is concerned about such measures, as they aim to expel international witnesses of human rights violations perpetrated by IOF against Palestinian civilians during peaceful protests against the construction of the Annexation Wall and settlement activities in the West Bank.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 03:00 on Sunday, 07 February 2010, IOF moved into the cities of Ramallah and al-Bireh. They stormed an apartment building in al-Bireh in which a number of international human rights defenders live. After checking the visas in their passports, IOF arrested Ariadna Jove Marti, 24, a Spanish journalist, and Bridgette Chappell, 25, an Australian student at Bir Zeit University, and took them to Ofer Prison, pending their deportation from the county, citing their expired visas as the reason. The two women are activists in the International Solidarity Movement. An Israeli military spokesman claimed that the women are “known for being involved in illegal riots that obstruct Israeli security operations.”
The detention of these two activists from an area controlled by the Palestinian National Authority is part of an IOF campaign against Palestinian and international human rights defenders in the West Bank, aiming to silence voices of Palestinians and hinder internationals from witnessing Israeli violations of human rights in the West Bank. It is worth noting that IOF have denied international human rights defenders access to the Gaza Strip for several years in order to prevent them from observing serious human rights violations, especially the humanitarian crisis of the Palestinian civilian population due to the ongoing illegal siege imposed on Gaza.
PCHR deeply appreciates the role played by international human rights defenders and solidarity activists, and:
- Reiterates its condemnation of the IOF’s persecution, and, in some cases, deportation, of Palestinian and international human rights defenders;
- Calls upon the international community to assume its responsibilities with regard to war crimes and serious human rights violations perpetrated by IOF in the Occupied Palestinian Territory; and
- Recommends that international civil society organizations, including human rights organizations, bar associations and international solidarity groups, become more involved in the process of locating suspected Israeli war criminals and urge their governments to prosecute them.
For more information please call PCHR office in Gaza, Gaza Strip, on +972 8 2824776 – 2825893
PCHR, 29 Omer El Mukhtar St., El Remal, PO Box 1328 Gaza, Gaza Strip. E-mail: email@example.com, Webpage http://www.pchrgaza.org