BADIL calls on the Human Rights Council, and its Member States, and the CoI to support the sovereignty and independence of Palestinian Civil society
For the 53rd regular session of the UNHRC (19 June – 14 July 2023), BADIL submitted a written and oral statement under Item 2, the Interactive Dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry (COI) on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem and in Israel in response to the COI’s report on shrinking spaces for Palestinian civil society.
As the Ongoing Nakba enters its 75th year, Palestinians continue to endure an expanding array of repressive laws and policies imposed by Israel's colonial-apartheid system and its proxy organizations, as well as by the international donor community and individual states.
Israeli policies to control the population, further colonize Palestinian land, and ultimately ethnically cleanse the Palestinian people, range from collective punishment, arbitrary arrest and detention, suppression of freedom of assembly and expression, to the illegal use of force. These forms of persecution result in the perpetuation and creation of new displacement. They also violate the right to resist colonial domination, including armed and unarmed struggle, protected by international law, and re-affirmed in numerous UN resolutions.
In its written submission BADIL highlighted the role the international community plays in shrinking Palestinian space, especially through politically conditional funding. International donors are no longer funding partners but rather act as censors by curtailing and limiting the essential role of Palestinian civil society. In effect, international donors are reducing the sovereignty and independence of Palestinian civil society. If maintained, these conditions will create a depoliticized, donor-oriented civil society, incapable of addressing Israel’s ongoing colonial actions, and unfit to vindicate Palestinian rights.
Therefore, BADIL called on states and UN institutions to:
- Adopt a principled stance against attacks on Palestinian organizations, and promote an understanding of the specific colonial environment in which they operate.
- Counteract the shrinking spaces for civil society and refrain from imposing conditional funding policies.
Additionally, BADIL called on the CoI, in line with its mandate, to address the root causes of the situation, by investigating the 75 years of denial of the Palestinian people’s rights to self-determination and return as well as the ongoing forcible displacement.