We have the honour to address you in our capacities as Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association and Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, pursuant to Human Rights Council resolutions 34/18, 32/32 and 34/5.
In this connection, we would like to bring to the attention of your Excellency’s Government information we have received concerning State publications which appear to stigmatize civil society organisations for their engagement with international bodies, including the UN in the field of human rights, and the broader harassment of civil society organisations engaging with UN human rights mechanisms.
According to the information received:
Stigmatization of civil society organisations working for the promotion and protection of human rights in the OPT, including following their interaction with the UN Human Rights Council and other international bodies
In May 2018, a report was published by the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs entitled “The Money Trail: The Millions Given by EU Institutions with Ties to Terror and Boycotts against Israel”. The report lists a number of civil society organisations working on the defence and promotion of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), along with humanitarian and development organisations working in the OPT, who had received direct or indirect financial support from European Union (EU) institutions, and called for the halting of this support. In the report, the Ministry alleged the involvement of these human rights organisations in “anti-Israel delegitimization” and the promotion of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Among the activities included by the Ministry under the umbrella of “anti-Israel delegitimization” were support for the creation of a database on businesses that have enabled, facilitated and profited from the construction and growth of Israeli settlements in the OPT, as requested by Human Rights Council resolution A/HRC/RES/31/36/, and petitioning the UN Secretary General on further issues related to business and human rights in the OPT. In the report, the Ministry also repeatedly claimed and implied, on what have been reported to be unspecified, inaccurate and heavily contested bases, links between these human rights organisations and “terrorist organisations”, suggesting that “European taxpayers’
money is being used to support ties with terrorist organisations”. The accusations made by the Ministry in the report were strongly rejected by Ms. Federica Mogherini, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, who reportedly deemed them “vague and unsubstantiated” and as serving “only to contribute to disinformation campaigns”...
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