In view of the deteriorating climate for human rights activists in Europe supporting Palestine, IHRC has today written to the United Nations seeking its intervention to protect fundamental human rights.
The letter serves notice of our intention to document the attack on freedoms by the UK, France and Germany and submit a detailed report documenting official abuses.
It is the first step in a procedure that seeks to engage the international body with the aim of applying pressure on the aforementioned governments to halt their assault on pro-Palestine activism.
The UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman directed police chiefs on 10/10/2023 to consider whether carrying a Palestinian flag or chanting certain slogans could be classified as support for terrorism under the country’s draconian anti-terrorism legislation.
In France the government reacted with alarming alacrity to shut down protests and ban pro-Palestine organisations. Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin’s wrote to the country’s prefects on 12/10/23 requesting them to ban all “pro-Palestinian demonstrations, because they can generate disturbances to public order”. France also commenced the process of dissolving two pro-Palestine civil society groups, the “Party of the Indigenous of the Republic” and “Palestine will conquer”.
Meanwhile, Germany announced that it would ban the pro-Palestinian group Samidoun. Many German cities including Berlin, Frankfurt, Mannheim and Munich have all banned planned pro-Palestinian protests and where they have taken place moved to arrest the demonstrators. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on 12/10/2023 that his government “will ban all activities and organisations supporting Hamas” but then went on to explain that this will include fundraising (presumably for Palestine), the display of the Palestinian flag, and even the wearing of the Palestinian keffiyeh.
“The pattern of conflating Hamas with all Palestinians and their right of self-defence, self-determination and to resist illegal occupation is a cynical ploy employed by many countries to delegitimise the Palestinian cause and represents a flagrant violation of peoples’ right to express themselves freely without state interference. Governments are using the events in Palestine as a pretext to take a cudgel to the right of freedom of expression,” states the letter.
In recent years civil society organisations have found themselves increasingly sidelines or ignored by the British government forcing them and to help directly from international fora.
Last week, IHRC was one of 10 civil society organisations in the UK have to write to the government warning it that any attempt to ban the Palestine flag will be met with an immediate challenge in the courts.
The letter, signed by 10 organisations, threatens legal action if the government goes ahead with recent threats to prosecute people for carrying the flag which has become an international symbol of the Palestinian people’s resistance against occupation.
IHRC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
Telephone: (+44) 20 8904 4222