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UN rights experts: Israel should reconsider charges against Palestinian human rights defender

[JURIST] Two UN rights experts said Monday that Israel should reconsider the charges it is pursuing against Issa Armo, a Palestinian human rights defender. The Special Rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territories, Michael Lynk, and the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders, Michel Forst, made a joint statement in favor of Israel dropping charges [Protecting Defenders report] against Armo, stating: "on the information available to us, many of the charges against Mr. Amro appear to be directed squarely at his lawful right to peacefully protest against the 50-year-old Israeli occupation. ... The non-violent work of human rights defenders must not be disrupted and attacked by the authorities, even under a military occupation." Forst and Lynk went on to say Armo already faced enough punishment in the past through harassment, discriminatory treatment, intimidation, and physical intimidation with military groups. The experts' request calls on Israel to "abide by international human rights laws in its dealings with human rights defenders."

Last month Human Rights Watch alleged that Israel has occupied the West Bank through human rights abuses for the past 50 years [JURIST report]. In May the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights voiced concern [JURIST report] over the treatment of hunger striking Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons. In April the UN Secretary-General, expressed his discontent [JURIST report] with Israel's latest decision to build settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and repeated his previous calls for a two-state solution to resolve the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In March Israel's Security Cabinet voted unanimously to approve the first settlement in the West Bank in more than 20 years [JURIST report].

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