Follow UNISPAL Twitter RSS
Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst
Observations on communications transmitted to Governments and replies received
1. The present document is submitted by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst, to the Human Rights Council, pursuant to resolution 25/18 of the Human Rights Council. The document provides observations on the communications on specific cases addressed by the Special Rapporteur to States, as well as observations on the replies received from States.
2. The cases raised by the Special Rapporteur in this report include urgent appeals, allegation letters and other letters sent between 1 December 2013 and 30 November 2014 and responses received from States from 1 December 2013 until 31 January 2015. It also contains late responses received from communications issued during previous reporting periods. The report also includes press releases issued between 1 December 2013 and 28 February 2015, as well as updates and follow up information received on individual cases by the Special Rapporteur up to the end of February 2015.
Alleged excessive use of force and interference with the right to peaceful assembly.
Alleged violent threats and intimidation carried out by the Israeli Defense Forces against members of a human rights organization in Hebron, West Bank, occupied Palestinian territories.
Alleged killing of three peaceful demonstrators in the Westbank by Israeli security forces.
504. The Special Rapporteur notes the Government’s response to one of three communications sent during the reporting period. He regrets that at the time of the finalisation of this report, the Government had not transmitted a reply to the other two communications, nor to the three sent during the previous reporting period. He expresses concern at the pattern of violations against human rights defenders in the West Bank, especially in relation to the excessive use of force by the Israeli Defence Forces. It should be noted that UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, has urged the Israeli authorities to take urgent steps to halt continuing injuries and fatalities during protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and to investigations all such incidents.25
505. The Special Rapporteur deeply regrets that the excessive use of force by Israeli security forces during a peaceful demonstration led to the killing of a human rights defender, and during clashes that erupted afterwards resulted in the killing of two more protestors. He is distressed at receiving similar reports of the excessive use of force by Israeli Defence Force soldiers and Border Police in the eviction and dismantlement of a peaceful protest camp, as well as several instances of interference with the exercise of the right to peaceful assembly by the authorities.
506. The Special Rapporteur reiterates his concern regarding the worrying pattern of harassment of human rights defenders in the West Bank, as well as about allegations of ongoing judicial harassment against Mr. Issa Amro and the intimidation directed against him and members of Youth against Settlement (YAS), previously mentioned in the previous observations report.26 Further concern is expressed at the alleged violent threats and intimidation against members of YAS due to a video published online, which showed an Israeli soldier pointing his gun at two Palestinian minors. As a result, a number of serious threats were made against Mr. Amro and members of YAS. The Special Rapporteur again reiterates his concern.
25 “Zeid says Israel must take action to curb rise in protest fatalities in Occupied Palestinian Territory” (12/12/2014):
26 A/HRC/25/55/Add.3, para. 227