Israeli Human Rights Groups Call to Lift Travel Ban Against Palestinian Human Rights Defender

Wednesday, February 22, 2012 – Israel's Supreme Court today will hear a petition filed by Shawan Jabarin, General Director of the human rights organization Al-Haq, against a travel ban that, based on classified information, has prevented him from leaving the West Bank for the past six years.
 
The above-listed human rights organizations call on the court to lift the ban, not only because of the severe harm it causes to Mr. Jabarin himself, but also because it impedes his ability to advocate for the community he serves.
 
Shawan Jabarin is the general director of Al-Haq, the largest, oldest and best known human rights organization in the West Bank and a colleague of the above-listed groups. For six years, Israel has completely prevented him from leaving the West Bank for conferences, lectures and meetings to which he is invited by recognized, legitimate international human rights organizations, as well as by the UN and the European Union. In so doing, Israel is interfering with his ability to fulfill his role in promoting human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory.
 
The fact that this ban is based on secret information is particularly disturbing. It undermines due process, as Mr. Jabarin and his lawyers do not know what the allegations against him are and have no way of challenging them. Israel routinely restricts movement within the occupied territory based on secret evidence, infringing on the rights of many Palestinians. The restrictions in this case are particularly detrimental, however, because of Mr. Jabarin's important public function.
 
We sincerely hope that the Court will lift the restrictions on Mr. Jabarin’s freedom of movement. At the end of the day, under any normative standard, an absolute ban on exiting the West Bank based on ex-parte, classified procedures is a violation of fundamental rights.