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UN blasts increase in arbitrary detention of Palestinian activists

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
In this file photo, an Israeli trooper punches Palestinian human rights activist Issa Amro in the occupied southern West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron).

The United Nations has denounced daily violations of human rights and international law by the Israeli regime in the occupied Palestinian territories, warning of an increase in the arbitrary detention of Palestinian rights activists.

“We have received a worrying number of complaints in recent months regarding human rights defenders, who are arrested and, in many cases, arbitrarily detained, often apparently as a direct result of their important work in their communities,” the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, Michael Lynk, and the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst, said in a joint statement on Friday.

The two senior UN officials further pointed to the cases of Issa Amro, the founder of the NGO of the Youth Against Settlements, and Farid al-Atrash, a Palestinian lawyer from the southern West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron), who are being held in Israeli prisons over participation in a peaceful protest in February.

The UN experts also expressed concern over the harassment of Palestinian groups seeking to promote accountability and engage with the International Criminal Court over the Tel Aviv regime’s crimes in the occupied territories.

They called on Israeli authorities to respect human rights defenders’ “unfettered exercise of fundamental freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly and association.”

“The right of all those who are seeking hope and participation in concrete, nonviolent action must be protected, particularly as we are seeing the deepening entrenchment of the Israeli occupation and the accompanying human rights violations,” the two UN special rapporteurs stressed. 

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