Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights has received a copy of decision No.
48 of 2010, issued by the Gaza Government's Ministry of Interior (MoI).
Article (1) of the decision translates: '[p]ublic servants who refrain from going to their work are not allowed to join a general assembly of a charitable society and nongovernmental organization, and are not allowed to work in them as employees or members of their administrative boards.
' Article (2) of the same decision translates: '[a]ny such administrative board of the aforementioned societies that encompasses refraining civil servants shall not be approved'.
Article (4) of the decision translates: '[t]his decision enters into force starting from the date of its issuance, and shall repeal anything that may contradict it.
' (informal translation from Arabic version by Al Mezan).
It should be noted that the Palestinian Authority had instructed tens of thousands of public servants in Gaza to stay home since the start of the internal political rift in 2007.
Other, especially teachers and health personnel, who complied with calls for strikes in 2008 have not been allowed to return to their jobs since then.
These people are paid by the Palestinian Authority.
Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights expresses its deep concern by a number of previous procedures that had infringed on the right to establish associations and community organizations recently.
Many NGOs had been closed in Gaza recently.
Al Mezan views the new decision as yet a new measure that conflict with the Palestinian Basic Law and the Palestinian Charitable Associations Law No.
1 of 2001.
Al Mezan believes that the decision, if applied, will lead to liquidating and canceling the licenses of more NGOs.
Al Mezan believes that prohibiting public servants from having a second paid job; including with NGOs, is justified and in line with Palestinian Public Service Law.
However, the prohibition on voluntary work and joining their assemblies and/or boards violates the law.
In light of the above, Al Mezan asserts the following: 1.
The principle of equality and the indiscrimination is a basic principle of human rights.
Article 9 of the Palestinian Basic Law asserts that: 'Palestinians shall be equal before the law and the judiciary without distinction.
' Therefore, it is not allowed to discriminate between public servants on the basis of whether they refrain from going to their work or not.
This kind of discrimination would violate the Basic Law and establish new rules that do not exist in applicable law.
The Basic Law provides that Palestinians’ right to participate in political life and form syndicates must be protected.
Article 26 of the Basic Law states: 'Palestinians, groups or individuals, have the right to participate in the political life and shall have the following rights…forming forming syndicates, unions, institutions, clubs and popular institutions.
Article 1 of the Palestinian Charitable Associations and Nongovernmental Organizations Law No.
1 of 2000 states: 'Palestinians shall freely practice social, cultural, professional and academic activities and shall establish and run associations and community organizations under the law.
' Al Mezan emphasizes that it is important to encourage, rather than discourage, people to voluntary contribute to activities by charitable associations and NGOs.
This includes public servants.
Al Mezan therefore calls on the Minister of Interior to reconsider and revoke the aforementioned decision as well as previous decisions related to the liquidating and canceling the registration of NGOs in Gaza.
Al Mezan calls on the Gaza Government to work towards facilitating the work of Palestinian NGOs.
Al Mezan asserts that the Government must always act in line with the law.