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Al Mezan Issues Position Paper on the Right to Peaceful Assembly

14-03-2011 00:00

Al Mezan Center for Human Rights today releases a position paper on the right to peaceful assembly.
This paper is issued in order to enhance and raise awareness of the right to free assembly and the right to freedom of opinion and expression and to highlight the importance of respecting the right to peaceful assembly as one of the main indicators in respect of the principle of the rule of law.
  Al Mezan presents this position paper to contribute to funding this right in Palestinian society.
In addition, the paper presents Al Mezan's position towards violations of this right and related rights in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).
  Issuing this paper comes as ongoing youth and other Palestinian society forces' plan and carry out activities and efforts to end the Palestinian internal split and the Israeli occupation.
Their only weapon is peaceful assembly.
They must be encouraged and protected.
In this paper Al Mezan calls on the Ramallah and Gaza Governments to fully respect and enhance the right to peaceful assembly.
It also calls on Palestinian individuals, political parties and forces, and civil society groups to respect the limitations of the Palestinian Public Meeting Law, which guarantees this right.
  Al Mezan strongly condemns acts and threats from security forces and police to prevent organizers from carrying out their assemblies.
These acts occur because of the insistence of the police and the security forces on a false interpretation to the law - they stipulate obtaining “permission” for assemblies instead of a “written notice” to the police as stated in the law.
Al Mezan asserts that any attack committed by the police and/or security forces on peaceful assemblies and participants is a flagrant violation of Palestinian law and international human rights norms.
Al Mezan condemns previous police attempts to forcibly disperse peaceful assemblies even when the organizers obeyed the law and the assembly was peaceful and did not hurt any person or public or personal facilities.
Force must not be used against peaceful assemblies and participants apart from in some very limited situations as stated in the law; in which case the police and security forces must fully respect the principles of proportion and necessity principles.
  Al Mezan calls on social groups in Palestine to view the right to peaceful assembly as a tool for stability and for political and social expression.
Respect for the right to peaceful assembly will increase the participation of all individuals in the development of a democratic society.
In light of the above, Al Mezan declares its support for the right to peaceful assembly and Palestinian social movements as a means to bridge the division in the Palestinian political and social systems.
Al Mezan follows developments on the ground and continues to work towards providing protection for those who practice this right in Palestine.
  Ends   For more information, please contact:   Samir Zaqout (Arabic): 059.
1681 Mahmoud Abu Rahma (English): 059.

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