At 9:00 am on Wednesday, 20 June 2007, the Israeli High Court of Justice will hear the petition brought by the General Director of Al-Haq, Shawan Jabarin, seeking to overturn the travel ban imposed on him by the Israeli military authorities, in time for him to be able to attend an international conference on peace and justice in Germany from 25 – 27 June.
Before his travel ban was imposed last year, Mr. Jabarin, a longstanding human rights defender, traveled freely to and from the occupied West Bank, going abroad on eight separate occasions between 1999 and February 2006. Since October 2006, however, the Israeli military authorities have since repeatedly denied him permission to leave the West Bank to attend human rights conferences in various countries, thereby hindering his professional duties. The ban has effectively been absolute in scope, yet no formal order has been issued nor have the Israeli authorities explained why the restrictions have been imposed. Further information on the history and circumstances of Mr. Jabarin’s travel ban can be found in previous Al-Haq and Human Rights Watch press releases.
The petition to the High Court of Justice, filed by Mr. Jabarin’s lawyers Michael Sfard, Shlomi Zecharia and Natalie Rosen, clearly demonstrates how the restrictions on his freedom of movement are illegal and unjustifiable under international humanitarian law, international human rights law, and Israeli constitutional law, and therefore calls on the Court to order that the restrictions be lifted. Click here to read the unofficial translation of the petition.
This hearing is of great significance, not only from the point of view of Mr. Jabarin or Al-Haq, but for the rights of human rights defenders throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). According to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders, Hina Jilani, human rights defenders in the OPT operate under conditions that are absolutely incompatible with international norms and standards of human rights. One of the biggest obstacles to the work of human rights defenders in the OPT is restrictions on freedom of movement.
It is vital, therefore, that the hearing be used as an opportunity to display support for Mr. Jabarin, as well as to monitor the proceedings and to demonstrate that the injustices being perpetrated by Israeli authorities upon human rights defenders in the OPT are not going unnoticed. Accordingly, we strongly encourage you to attend the hearing, either in your individual capacity or as a representative of your organisation. It would also be greatly appreciated if you could forward this letter to any other parties you think may be interested. Although the proceedings will be in Hebrew, it will be possible to provide translation in the courtroom itself on an informal basis.
Please do not hesitate to contact firstname.lastname@example.org should you have any questions, comments or require further information pertaining to the case. The address of the High Court of Justice is: Sha‘arei Mishpat, Number 1, Kiryat Hamemshala, Jerusalem. Thank you very much for your support and we look forward to seeing you at the hearing.
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