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UN rights chief calls Israeli blacklisting of 6 Palestinian groups unjustified

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, attends a meeting of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, June 17, 2020. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP)
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, attends a meeting of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, June 17, 2020. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP)

GENEVA — Israel’s designation of six leading Palestinian civil society groups as outlawed terrorist organization is an unjustified attack, the UN human rights chief says today.

The Jewish state said its move last week was due to their alleged financing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

It accused the six of working covertly with the leftist terrorist group group, which pioneered plane hijackings in the 1970s to highlight the Palestinian cause and is blacklisted by several Western governments.

Michelle Bachelet says the decision is an attack on human rights defenders, on freedoms of association, opinion and expression and on the right to public participation.

She calls for the move to be immediately revoked.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights says anti-terrorism legislation should not be applied to legitimate human rights and humanitarian aid activities.

“The organizations… face far-reaching consequences as a result of this arbitrary decision, as do the people who fund them and work with them,” says Bachelet.

“The crucial work they perform for thousands of Palestinians risks being halted or severely restricted,” she adds.

She says the decision will have “a chilling effect” on human rights defenders.

“Claiming rights before a UN or other international body is not an act of terrorism, advocating for the rights of women in the occupied Palestinian territory is not terrorism, and providing legal aid to detained Palestinians is not terrorism,” Bachelet says.

She adds that no evidence has been presented to support the allegations against the six groups, nor has any public process been conducted to establish the accusations.

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