Popular Struggle Coordination Committee P.
started this petition to
Shlomo David Abekasis, IDF Commander in the West Bank
Abdallah Abu Rahme (44) is due to be sentenced on January 5th for exercising his legitimate right to protest in a nonviolent manner against the human rights violations and abuses perpetrated by the State of Israel on the occupied Palestinian territories.
As highlighted by the former Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue, following his visit to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory in December 2011, Israeli Military Order 101 is used by the IDF to “restrict Palestinians’ rights to freedom of expression and assembly”. As explained by La Rue, the order “criminalizes political expression and activities, including organizing and participating in protests; taking part in assemblies or vigils; holding, waving or displaying flags or other political symbols; and printing and distributing any material ‘’having a political significance’’. Any breach of the order is punishable by 10 years of imprisonment and/or fine.” La Rue criticized the “vague” “sweeping prohibition of expression deemed to be political” in addition to the “considerable room for discretion” the order leaves to the IDF with regards the degree of force to be used to enforce the order with a “potential for excessive use of force.”
The right to peaceful assembly recognized in Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Israel is a signatory, states:
"The right of peaceful assembly shall be recognized. No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of this right other than those imposed in conformity with the law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, public order, the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others."
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights on its articles 19 and 20 states:
• Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
• (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
• (2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.
Furthermore, Abdallah´s prosecution violates as well articles 3, 7, 9, 10, 22, 25, 27 and 28 of the Declaration and articles 1, 2, 5, 6, 10 and 11 of the European Declaration of Human Rights .
The European Union Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders and the UN Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms , despite not legally being binding documents for the states, provide to the International community a moral obligation to offer support and protection to human rights defenders in the context of their work.
However, the UN guidelines contains a series of principles and rights that are based on human rights standards enshrined in other international instruments that are legally binding – such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, from which Israel is a signatory member. Moreover, the Declaration was adopted by consensus by the General Assembly and therefore represents a very strong commitment by States to its implementation.
For all the above mentioned reasons, appealing to the obligation to protect and promote human rights, the undersigned hereby request the acquittal of Abdallah Abu Rahme on all charges and urges the Israeli Government to fulfill his obligations, respecting International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law, ensuring protection of Human Rights and its defenders.