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Human rights defender prevented from leaving Palestine to attend Cairo meeting

(CIHRS/IFEX) - 9 May 2010 - On 28 March 2010, the general director of the Palestinian human rights organization Al-Haq, Mr. Shawan Jabarin, was denied exit from the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) by Israeli forces. Jabarin attempted to travel to Cairo via Jordan to attend, in his capacity as a member of the board of advisors, a regional meeting at the Cairo Centre for Human Rights on human rights protection. Jabarin was held at the Israeli-controlled Allenby Bridge for two hours before being informed by the Israeli forces that he was not permitted to leave the OPT.

On his appointment as Al-Haq general director, in 2006, Jabarin was subjected to a travel ban severely curtailing his ability to raise awareness internationally about the ongoing violations of Palestinian human rights in the OPT. The ban, imposed for an indefinite period, punishes Jabarin for his human rights advocacy, and is justified by the Israeli military and judicial authorities on the basis of "secret evidence" denied to the human rights defender and his legal representatives.

The travel ban violates Jabarin's fundamental human rights, namely his right to freedom of movement and the right to due process and fair trial, and contravenes the special protection afforded to him as a human rights defender in accordance with the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the United Nations General Assembly.

The undersigned Arab non-governmental organizations condemn the complicity of the Israeli High Court of Justice, which upheld the travel ban and which has on three occasions dismissed petitions brought by Jabarin challenging the lawfulness of the ban. The Israeli High Court of Justice, by refusing to deviate from the position of the Israeli General Security Services, prioritized the repressive actions of the Israeli occupation forces over Jabarin's rights, and Israeli obligations, under international law.

The undersigned Arab non-governmental organizations call upon the international community to take immediate and concrete action to ensure that international law is upheld and human rights defenders are able to carry out their crucial work without interference. Furthermore, the undersigned Arab non-governmental organizations call upon, in particular, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights while Countering Terrorism, and the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, to act appropriately within their mandates to ensure that Jabarin's human rights are respected.

Signatures

1. Alkarama Foundation
2. Amman Center for Human Rights Studies
3. Arab Association for Human Rights
4. Arab Organization for Penal Reform
5. Arab Program for Human Rights Activists
6. Arab-European Center for Human Rights and International Law
7. Baghdad Center for Human Rights Studies
8. Bahrain Center for Human Rights
9. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
10. Center for Information on Human Rights and Democracy
11. Center for International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights
12. Center for the Egyptian Woman's Legal Assistance
13. Committees for the Defense of Democratic Freedoms and Human Rights in Syria
14. Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies
15. Damascus Center for Theoretical Studies and Civil Rights
16. Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights
17. Egyptian Federation for Young Human Rights Organizations
18. Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights
19. Federation of Trade Union Workers
20. Gaza Community Mental Health
21. Group of Human Rights in the Sultanate of Oman
22. Hisham Mubarak Center for Law
23. House Social Relief
24. Human Rights First Society in Saudi Arabia
25. International Institution for Peace, Justice, and Human Rights
26. Iraqi Association for Human Rights in Denmark
27. Jerusalem Foundation for Community Development
28. Land Research Center
29. Lebanese Association for Human Rights
30. Lebanese Center for Policy Research and Consulting
31. Legal Aid Society for Human Rights
32. Maat Center for Judicial and Constitutional Studies
33. National Organization for Human Rights in Syria
34. Palestinian Association for Human Rights (Monitor)
35. Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms
36. Palestinian Center for Issues of Peace and Democracy
37. Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights
38. Syrian Association for the Defense of Human Rights
39. Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression
40. Syrian Committee for Defending Journalists
41. Syrian Observatory for Human Rights
42. Technology Center for Human Rights
43. Youth Coalition for the Defense of Human Rights

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