On 28 March 2010, Al-Haq’s General Director, Mr. Shawan Jabarin, was denied exit from the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) by Israeli forces. Mr. 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. Mr. Jabarin was held at the 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 General Director of Al-Haq, in 2006 Mr. 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 Mr Jabarin for his human rights advocacy, and is justified by the Israeli military and judicial authorities on the basis of ‘secret evidence’ denied to Mr. Shawan and his legal representatives.
The travel ban violates Mr. 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 United Nations General Assembly Declaration on human rights defenders.
Al-Haq condemns the complicity of the Israeli High Court of Justice, which upheld the travel ban and which have on three occasions dismissed petitions brought by Mr. 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 Mr. Jabarin’s rights, and Israeli obligations, under international law.
Al-Haq calls upon the international community to take immediate and concrete action to ensure that international law is upheld and that human rights defenders are able to carry out their crucial work without interference. Furthermore, Al-Haq calls 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 Mr. Jabarin’s human rights are respected.