The International Community Must Support and Protect Palestinian Civil Society


As a group of 242 regional and international organisations, we express our full solidarity with Palestinian civil society and human rights defenders as Israel continues to escalate its attacks to shut down critical human rights work and silence opposition to its occupation of Palestinian territory and apartheid over the Palestinian people as a whole. We urge the international community to take all necessary action to support and protect Palestinian civil society and human rights defenders and ensure the continuation of their invaluable work.

On 19 October 2021, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz designated six leading Palestinian civil society organisations as terrorist organisations, including

  1. Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association;
  2. Al-Haq Law in the Service of Man (Al-Haq);
  3. Bisan Center for Research and Development;
  4. Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCI-P);
  5. the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC); and
  6. the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC)

The Israeli government has continued to intensify its attacks on independent Palestinian human rights organizations and their staff, who regularly face smear campaigns, spurious accusations of links to terrorism as well as threats and intimidation, travel bans and movement restrictions, and arrest for their work. Independent Israeli and international organizations have also been targeted by Israel for their work documenting and advocating against Israel’s human rights violations. Israel’s actions clearly follow the pattern set by authoritarian states in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and around the world.

This unprecedented designation is merely the latest escalation in Israel’s widespread and systematic institutionalized campaign that has aimed to silence and discredit any Palestinian individual or organization that dares seek accountability for Israel’s grave human rights violations, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. The “persecution of organizations and persons, by depriving them of fundamental rights and freedoms, because they oppose apartheid” is one of the methods used by Israel to maintain its domination and oppression over the Palestinian people.

On 18 October 2021, the Israeli Interior Minister announced the official revocation of the Jerusalem residency status of Palestinian-French human rights defender and lawyer Salah Hammouri based on “breach of allegiance” to the State of Israel, opening the way for more widespread use of residency revocation on this basis, putting thousands of Palestinians in Jerusalem at risk of arbitrary and punitive measures leading to their forcible transfer.

UN experts condemned the designations of the six NGOs as terrorist organizations “a frontal attack on the Palestinian human rights movement, and on human rights everywhere” and called upon the international community to “defend the defenders.” The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called on Israel to revoke the designations, affirming that "claiming rights before a UN or other international body is not an act of terrorism, advocating for the rights of women in the occupied Palestinian territory is not terrorism, and providing legal aid to detained Palestinians is not terrorism". The designation has also been condemned by other international actors, including members of the US House of Representatives, Euopean Parliamentarians as well as international civil society.

The designation presents a challenge to the international community, especially democratic states that speak out and support independent human rights organizations and defenders in other parts of the world. Remaining silent is insufficient given the urgent support and protection needs of the six organizations that are now at an additional risk of raids, confiscation of property and materials, closure of bank accounts, arrest of staff members, and closure of their offices. Israel’s attacks against these organizations pose an existential threat to independent Palestinian human rights organizations and civil society who work to monitor and document violations of human rights and provide basic services to the Palestinian people.

We call upon the international community to publicly condemn and reject Israel’s designation of Palestinian human rights and civil society organizations as “terrorist organizations” as an internationally wrongful act, to call for Israel to immediately rescind the designation, and to demand Israel repeal its Anti-Terrorism Law (2016) as it does not meet basic human rights standards and to end all other actions that deny Palestinians their inalienable human rights. We also urge members of the international community to publicly show support for the six organizations and Palestinian civil society at large.

Further, the international community, especially the European Union and its member states who are key supporters of and donors to Palestinian civil society, should ensure that banks and financial institutions in their jurisdiction are notified Israel’s designation of Palestinian organizations is unfounded and inapplicable.



1. 11.11.11
2. Abna Al-Quds Club
3. Action for Change and Democracy in Algeria
4. AFKAR for Educational & Cultural Development
5. Agir pour le Changement et la Démocratie en Algérie (ACDA)
6. Al Ataa Charitable Society
7. Albanian Human Rights Group
8. Al Dameer Association for Human Rights
9. Al-Haq, Law in the Service of Man
10. Al Karmel Culture and Social Development Association
11. Al-Marsad Arab Human Rights Center in Golan Heights
12. Al Mezan Center for Human Rights
13. Altawasol Forum Society
14. Aman Organization Against Discrimination
15. ANSWER Coalition
16. Applied Research Institute-Jerusalem
17. Arab Canadian Lawyers Association
18. Arab Center for Agricultural Development
19. Artists for Palestine UK
20. Asha Parivar
21. Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
22. Associació Hèlia
23. Asociación Paz con Dignidad
24. Association Africaine de Défense droit de l’Homme (ASADHO)
25. Association Belgo-Palestinienne WB
26. Association des Magistrats Tunisiens
27. Association des Universitaires pour le Respect du Droit International en Palestine (AURDIP)
28. Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS)
29. Association Internationale de Soutien aux Prisonniers Politiques
30. Association Nachaz
31. Association pour le Droit à la Différence (ADD)
32. Association Tunisienne des Femmes Démocrates
33. Association Tunisienne de Soutien des Minorités
34. Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children
35. Australia Palestine Advocacy Network
36. Australian Centre for International Justice
37. Bait Lahia Youth Association Center
38. BankTrack - Netherlands
39. Basma Society for Culture and Arts
40. Basmeh & Zeitooneh
41. Baytna
42. Beity
43. Belady Foundation for Human Rights
44. Belgian Campaign for an Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
45. BDS País Valencià
46. Broederlijk Delen
47. Business and Human Rights Resource Center (BHRRC)
48. Bytes For All
49. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
50. Canada Palestine Association
51. Canadian BDS Coalition
52. Canadians for Peace and Justice in Kashmir
53. Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME)
54. Canada Palestine Friendship Society
55. Carleton University Students for Justice in Palestine
56. Catholics for Justice and Peace in the Holy Land
57. Center for Civil Liberties
58. Center for Constitutional Rights
59. Center for Defense of Liberties & Civil Rights (Hurryyat)
60. Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR)
61. Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO)
62. Central Blood Bank Society
63. Coalition of African Lesbians
64. Committee for the Respect of Freedoms and Human Rights in Tunisia
65. Committee on the Administration of Justice (Northern Ireland)
66. Community Empowerment and Social Justice Network (CEMSOJ)
67. Community Media Center
68. Conectas Direitos Humanos
69. Confederación Intersindical Galega (CIG)
70. Congregations of St. Joseph
71. Citizen News Service (CNS)
72. Citoyenneté, Développement, Cultures et migrations des deux Rives
73. CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
74. CNCD-11.11.11
75. Collectif des Familles de Disparus en Algérie (CFDA)
76. Cooperazione Internazionale Sud Sud (CISS)
77. Cultura è libertà una campagna per la Palestina
78. De-Colonizer
79. Defence for Children International - Italy
80. DefendDefenders (East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project)
81. Defender Center for Human Rights
82. Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN)
83. docP - BDS Netherlands
84. Dominican Sisters of Blauvelt, NY
85. Dr. Haider Abdel Shafi Center for Culture & Development
86. Edmonton Run for Palestine
87. Egyptian Front for Human Rights
88. EuroMed Rights
89. European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine (ECCP)
90. European Legal Support Center (ELSC)
91. European Trade Union Network For Justice in Palestine (ETUN)
92. Fagforbundet
93. Fares Arab Foundation for Development
94. FIAN International
95. Finnish-Arab Friendship Society
96. Free Gaza Australia
97. Fundación Mundubat
98. Gaza Action Ireland
99. General and Autonomous Confederation of Workers in Algeria (CGATA)
100. General Confederation of the Portuguese Workers (CGTP-IN)
101. Gibanje za pravice Palestincev
102. Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
103. Grassroots AlQuds
104. Groupe LOTUS
105. Grup de Suport a Juani Rishmawi
106. Gruppo Ibriq per la cultura e la causa Palestinese
107. Hassan El Saadawi Association for Democracy and Equality
108. Human Rights and Democracy Center (SHAMS)
109. Human Rights Commission of Pakistan
110. International Accountability Project
111. International Association for the Support of Political Prisoners
112. International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)
113. International Commission to Support Palestinian Rights
114. International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
115. International Women's Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific (IWRAW AP)
116. Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign
117. Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU)
118. Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD)
119. Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) - Finland
120. Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) - Germany
121. Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions UK
122. Jabalia Rehabilitation Society
123. Joussour De Citoyenneté
124. Just Peace Advocates
125. Jurists without Chains
126. Justice for Iran
127. Justitia Center for Legal Protection of Human Rights in Algeria
128. Kairos Ireland
129. Kairos Sabeel Netherlands
130. Kenya Human Rights Commission
131. Land Research Center
132. Leadership Team of the Dominican Sisters and Associates of Racine, WI
133. League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI)
134. Lebanese Center for Human Rights
135. Libya Al-Mostakbal
136. Libyan Center for Freedom of the Press
137. Libyan Network for Legal Aid
138. Libyan Women's Platform for Peace
139. Ligue Algérienne de Défense des Droits de L'homme
140. Ligue des droits de l'Homme
141. Ligue Suisse des Droits de l'Homme - Genève
142. MA'AN Development Center
143. MADRE - USA
144. Maine Voices for Palestinian Rights
145. Makan
146. MakeShiftPublishing BV
147. Manushya Foundation
148. Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
149. MENA Rights Group
150. Mwatana for Human Rights
151. Nā Pua Kūʻē – Hawaiʻi Dissenters
152. National Autonomous Union of Public Administration Staff (SNAPAP)
153. National Fisheries Solidarity
154. National Syndicate of Tunisian Journalists (SNJT)
155. Netherlands Palestine Committee
156. Niagara Movement for Justice in Palestine-Israel (NMJPI)
158. New Weapons Research Group onlus
159. Oakville Palestinian Rights Association
160. Odhikar
161. One Justice
162. Organisation 23_10 d'Appui au Processus de Transition Démocratique
163. Österreichische Liga für Menschenrechte
164. Our Revolution Northern Virginia (ORNOVA)
165. Palestina Solidariteit vzw
166. Palästina Spricht
167. Palestinakomiteen i Larvik-Sandefjord
168. Palestine Link
169. Palestine Solidarity Alliance of South Africa
170. Palestine Solidarity Campaign - Britain (England, Wales, and Scotland)
171. Palestine Solidarity Campaign - Gauteng (Johannesburg)
172. Palestine Solidarity Campaign - Cape Town
173. Palestinian Solidarity Group at Mount Holyoke College
174. Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs (PASSIA)
175. Palestinian Assembly for Liberation
176. Palestinian Children in Israeli Military Prisons (PIM)
177. Palestinian Counseling Center
178. Palestinian Youth Movement
179. Pax Christi Flanders
180. Pax Christi USA
181. PeaceWomen Across the Globe
182. Plan International - Jordan
183. Platform of French NGOs for Palestine
184. Portuguese League for Human Rights - Civitas
185. Princeton Committee on Palestine
186. Project48
187. Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice
188. Racial Literacy Groups
189. Réseau International des Droits Humains (RIDH)
190. Riposte International
191. Rumbo a Gaza
192. Salaam Ragazzi dell'Olivo, Comitato di Trieste
193. Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
194. Sareyyet Ramallah
195. Sexual Rights Intiative
196. Sheffield Labour Friends of Palestine
197. Sinistra Italiana
198. Socialist Party (India)
200. South African BDS Coalition
201. South African Jews for a Free Palestine (SAJFP)
202. SumOfUs
203. Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM)
204. Syrians for Truth and Justice (STJ)
205. Syrian Justice and Accountability Center (SJAC)
206. The Community Action Center at Al-Quds University
207. The Cultural Forum Center
208. The Culture and Free Thought Association
209. The National Society for Democracy and Law
210. The Palestine Committee of Norway
211. The Palestine Project
212. The Palestinian Developmental Women Studies Association (PDWSA)
213. The Palestinian Human Rights Organization (PHRO)
214. The Rights Forum
215. The Society of Women Graduates
216. Toronto Palestine Film Festival
217. Trade Union Friends of Palestine
218. Transnational Institute
219. Trócaire
220. Tunisian Association of Defending Individual Liberties (ADLI)
221. Tunisian Association of the Democratic Women (ATFD)
222. Tunisian Youth Movement in Germany
223. UK-Palestine Mental Health Network
224. Union Aid Abroad APHEDA
225. Union Juive Française pour la Paix (UJFP)
226. Union Syndicale Solidaires
227. United Network for Justice and Peace in Palestine - Israel
228. Urgent Action Fund for Women's Human Rights
229. USA Palestine Mental Health Network
230. Visualizing Palestine
231. Viva Salud
232. We Network
233. WESPAC Foundation, Inc.
234. Women Against Violence
235. Women in Black Vienna
236. Women Now For Development
237. Women's Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling (WCLAC)
238. Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)
239. Women's Studies Centre
240. Youth Development Association (YDA)
241. Youth for Tawergha
242. Zochrot



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