This fact sheet addresses violations by the Palestinian authorities in the Gaza Strip of the rights to freedom of opinion and expression, assembly, and freedom from arbitrary detention. Alarmed by the systematic manner in which these violations are committed, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights (Al Mezan) releases this fact sheet to highlight the circumstances and frequency of this conduct, which amounts to breaches of Palestinian law and international covenants that the State of Palestine has acceded to. Covering the period of 1 March 2018 to 28 February 2019, this fact sheet provides a succinct overview of violations perpetuated chiefly againss journalists, activists, and supporters of the local authorities’ political opponents.
Al Mezan acknowledges the indivisibility of human rights, such that the rights to freedom of opinion and expression, and peaceful assembly are closely correlated with the right to live free from arbitrary detention and abuse. This fact sheet calls for human rights to be protected and promoted at the highest levels of government in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) in order for citizens to be able to access information, engage in meaningful political participation, and hold to account those in positions of power.
Emphasis must be placed on protecting these rights in the current context of a “deficit in democracy” whereby executive and security authorities are increasingly documented abusing their powers, including in the implementation of basic services for the population. Peaceful political action and criticism are crucial means of applying checks and balances to governance.
The factual information presented in this fact sheet shows a disturbing reality of infringement on rights and freedoms, censorship, and punishment for political dissent. This conduct seems to disrupt peace and security, create an atmosphere of fear, and fundamentally, is in violation of local law and human rights.