Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network stands strongly against the Electronic crimes law /cyber crimes. This law clearly violates Palestinian human rights; it infringes freedom of expression, freedom of opinion, and privacy rights. The Palestinian people must be allowed to publically debate and amend the law.
PNGO calls upon Attorney-General, Dr. Ahmed Barak, to suspend the law because it clearly violates the Palestinian Basic Law 2005, Art (19,27), which states; “Complying with the Palestinian Basic Law guarantees the respect of freedom of opinion and expression and the rights and freedom of the media”, it also prohibits Censorship of the media as “No warning, suspension, confiscation, cancellation or restriction shall be imposed upon the media expect by law, and pursuant to a judicial ruling.”
PNGO is gravely concerned about the drastically rising number of violations and the continued violations of media freedom carried out by Palestinian Security Forces.
Recently the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) reported that the “Palestinian Authority blocked more than 29 news websites, resulting in a significant increase in Palestinian [Security Force] violations to unprecedented levels in terms of numbers and gravity”.
In addition to at least two journalists, were arrested by the Palestinian Preventive Security (PSS). On July 17, 2017 PNGO’s National advocacy coordinator was arrested from his home in Birzeit in the late hours of the night. The arrest was allegedly due to his activity on Facebook; which is clearly a violation of his freedom of expression, the next day he was released. After legal representatives of the detained inquired, it became clear that no legal warrant had been issued for the arrest. This is a clear violation of Palestinian Basic Law and international treaties signed by the PNA.
PNGO does not see these cases as isolated or individual. Rather given the context, timing, and enforcing agency of these violations, it can only mean a targeted campaign by the PNA against Palestinian Civil Society as a whole. The creation of a culture of fear and intimidation to all those attempting to criticize government policies as an unacceptable violation of basic democratic rights and humanist values and can only be called abhorrent attacks on the rights of Palestinian citizens.
PNGO calls upon the Palestinian National Authority to abide by its obligations under the international Human Rights law, and all treaties ratified; particularly the International Covenant on Civil and political rights (Article 19) that guarantee freedom of expression and opinion and freedom of speech.
PNGO demands that the various forms of persecutions against journalists, Palestinian media outlets, and Palestinian civil society must be stopped immediately. PNGO calls upon the suspension of Electronic Crimes law until further public debate to reach a law that serves its intended purposes without violating Palestinian Basic law and international human rights law. PNGO also calls on all national, international bodies, representatives, and organizations to maintain with relevant PNA bodies that working with them are contingent on PNA respect of Palestinian and International Human Rights Law.