Al-Haq: Failure to Ensure Civil Society’s Access to the Draft Law by Decree Amending the Law by Decree on Cybercrimes

Monday, 14 May 2018 11:59

Alhaq Logo On 10 May 2018, Al-Haq reported its concerns (in Arabic) about the process of secrecy taking place in dealing with the Draft Law by Decree Amending the Law by Decree on Cybercrimes (hereinafter Draft Amendment to the Cybercrimes Decree Law) since it was approved by the Council of Ministers in its session held on 17 April 2018 without civil society participation. Al-Haq called for enabling civil society organizations to review and provide their comments on the Draft Amendment to the Cybercrimes Decree Law before publishing it in the Official Gazette. The comments are supposed to make the Cybercrimes Decree Law comply with the National Policy Agenda (Putting Citizens First), which was endorsed by the government for the years 2017-2022, and the legislative plan of the government, which emphasized transparency, full participation with, and openness to civil society in the legislative process and the development of public policies and decision makings. However the Law was published in the Gazette, without civil society engagement and review.

Al-Haq indicated that the third and last dialogue session held with the government between 19-22 November 2017 on the Draft Amendment to the Cybercrimes Decree Law did not succeed in aligning the Decree Law with international conventions and standards. During the meetings with the Committee on the Alignment of Legislation with International Conventions (hereinafter the Committee), which had been established by the Council of Ministers in 2017, Al-Haq presented comprehensive and controversial issues on the Cybercrimes Decree Law, in order to ensure full alignment with international conventions and standards of human rights. The committee, formed mostly of government ministries, rejected Al-Haq’s proposals. With the full belief of the Committee’s significance, role and specializations, Al-Haq had called for restructuring the Committee to ensure the existence of professional principles and standards and balanced representation of civil society organizations in the membership of the Committee.

Al-Haq adds that the Palestinian authority’s written response to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, Mr. David Kaye, contained in item No. 15 a pledge by President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Dr. Rami Hamdallah "to amend any article that violates the Basic Law or does not comply with the obligations of the State of Palestine, which resulted from its accession to international conventions and treaties."

Al-Haq reiterates its comments on Draft Amendment to the Cybercrimes Decree Law: