As organisations dedicated to the promotion and protection of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), the Palestinian Council of Human Rights Organisations (PCHRO) condemn in the strongest possible terms the recent assault on Mahmoud Abu Rahma, who was attacked and stabbed multiple times by unknown assailants on Friday 13 January in Gaza city.
This was the second such attack suffered by Mr. Abu Rahma this year. On 3 January he escaped unharmed when he was attacked by masked men near his home. Both attacks have been linked to an article published on 31 December 2011 by Mr. Abu Rahma, who is Al Mezan’s International Relations Director.
Mr. Abu Rahma has received numerous hostile messages and emails which threaten his life unless he retracts the article, entitled ‘The gap between resistance and governance,’ which criticises Palestinian resistance groups and governments in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank for the political violence, negligence and legal violations of the rights of Palestinians in recent years.
Commenting on the assault, Shawan Jabarin, General Director of Al-Haq, has called for the authorities in the Gaza Strip to carry out an objective and transparent investigation into the stabbing. “This is a cowardly attempt to silence Mahmoud Abu Rahma and intimidate any human rights defenders who dare to objectively criticise the resistance movement and Palestinian leadership. Freedom of expression is a fundamental right and a cornerstone of a democratic society. It is enshrined in both international law and Palestinian Basic Law and it must be guaranteed to all, without exception.”
PCHRO demands that an urgent investigation be launched, the results of which must be made available to the public, and the perpetrators held accountable. All political parties in the Occupied Palestinian Territory must adopt a clear position against this attack and guarantee the protection of certain basic inalienable rights and freedoms such as freedom of expression and the right to life. Furthermore, PCHRO calls for new legislation giving special protections to human rights defenders so that they can work without fear of attacks and criticise without fear of retribution. In the meantime, Mr. Abu Rahma must be provided the suitable protection for as long as is necessary.
PCHRO also supports the sentiments of Mr. Abu Rahma’s forceful article, and call for reparation and redress for the victims of violations committed by Palestinian authorities and the resistance groups.
Finally, the thoughts of PCHRO are with Mr. Abu Rahma and his family at this time. We wish him a timely recovery and look forward to welcoming him back into the field.
For further information please contact:
Néill Ó Cíoráin
Media & Advocacy Officer
Ph: + 970 (0)2 2954646/7/9