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Ramallah Center for Human Rights Studies (RCHRS)

Profile

Country/TerritoryPalestinian Authority
Websitehttp://www.rchrs.com/en
Founded1996
In their own words“…Palestinian civic, non-governmental, and non-partisan organization that aims at promoting among the Palestinian people in general, and the Palestinian youth in particular, a culture of tolerance and respect for human rights, as well as the education to [sic] the values of democracy, good governance, and the freedoms of thought and expression.”

Funding

  • The organization does not publish financial information, reflecting a lack of transparency and accountability.
  • In 2014, RCHRS received a grant of $35,000 from the National Endowment for Democracy (United States) for a project titled “Promoting a Tolerant Constitution.”
  • In 2013, RCHRS received $108,000 from the NGO Development Center (NDC).

Activities

  • Ramallah Center for Human Rights Studies (RCHRS) rhetoric includes accusing Israel of “apartheid,” “genocide,” “ethnic cleansing,” “collective punishment,” and “war crimes,” as well as supporting a Palestinian “right of return.”
  • In May 2018, during the violence on the Gaza border, RCHRS was a signatory on a statement condemning the “rapid escalation of killings by Israel at the Gaza fence, to enforce and maintain its unlawful sea and land closure and prolonged occupation of Palestinian territory. Today Israel continues its implementation of unnecessary, indiscriminate, and disproportionate use of force against unarmed civilians.” The statement ignored the violent nature of the protests, which included Molotov cocktails, arson, and attempts to breach the border fence with Israel.
  • In May 2018, RCHRS was a signatory on  a “Nakba Statement” saying that “For the Palestinian people, 70 years of Nakba means seven decades of subjugation by Israel, characterized by occupation, apartheid and colonial policies and practices” (emphasis added).
  • In November 2017, as a member of the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), RCHRS was a signatory on a call to support “A World Without Walls,” drawing comparisons between “Israel’s apartheid wall on Palestinian land to the US wall of Shame on indigenous land at the border with Mexico.”
  • In March 2017, Fathi Nemer, Program Officer at RCHRS, wrote an op-ed stating, “The ethnic cleansing, massacres and colonialism needed to establish Israel can never be justified, regardless of who was there first… There is no possible scenario where it is excusable to perpetrate war crimes against a people.”
  • In December 2016, RCHRS was a signatory on a statement for the “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People” demanding that the “Zionist occupation authorities” be placed “on trial, for war crimes and crimes against humanity which they committed against the Palestinian People” and advocated to “continue working on increasing the international isolation of Israel until imposing international sanctions against it.”
  • In November 2016, RCHRS co-authored a submission to Michael Lynk, UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in the Palestinian Territories, on “Human Rights Defenders in the OPT…highlight[ing] the repressive environment within which human rights defenders (HRDs) work in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.” The submission referred to Manal Tamimi, then fieldworker for the Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counseling (WCLAC) as a “human rights defender.”
    • Tamimi frequently utilizes antisemitic and violent rhetoric and imagery on social media. In August 2015, Tamimi tweeted, “I do hate Israel, i (sic) wish a thrid Intefada (sic) coming soon and people rais (sic) up and kills all these zionist settlers everywhere.”
  • In August 2014, RCHRS was a signatory on a call demanding the “United Nations to convene an international conference to end the Israeli occupation and to prosecute Israeli war criminals,” as the “Zionist entity authorities…continue to escalate its aggression…with daily excessive brutal crimes against unarmed civilians, committing war crimes and crimes of aggression against humanity, and a kind of genocide.” The statement calls for the development of an “international campaignto impose sanctions and boycott of Israel as an apartheid state … until the end of the Israeli occupation and the end of the apartheid regime of Israel.”
  • On August 8, 2014, RCHRS was a signatory on a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressing their disappointment with his “failure” to point out the “Palestinians legitimate and legal right to resist occupation, colonization and institutionalized discrimination” and his “inappropriate justification of Israel’s violations of international humanitarian law, which amount to war crimes.”
  • In May 2014, RCHRS signed a joint letter to President Mahmoud Abbas, calling for Palestinian accession to the International Criminal Court (ICC) as “Taking such steps could ensure access to international justice for victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed on Palestinian territories, and would send an important message that such crimes cannot be committed with impunity.”
  • RCHRS uses its membership in the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC) as a platform to lobby international forums and disseminate statements demonizing Israel. PHROC is comprised of other politicized NGOs including AddameerAl-DameerAl-HaqAl-MezanBADILDefense for Children International– Palestine (DCI-P), and Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR).
    • During a wave of Palestinian violence that began in October 2015, PHROC repeatedly called upon the international community to “hold Israel responsible for the current escalation of violence and recall the root-causes of the ongoing situation, including Israel’s occupation.”
    • As a member of the Palestinian Human Rights Organisations Council (PHROC), RCHRS referred to the resignation of William Schabas as the head of the UN inquiry into the 2014 Gaza war as a “charade put up by Israel” and “condemn[ed] in the strongest terms Israel’s latest and unfortunately far too common attempt to obstruct the work of the international human rights and justice mechanisms in investigating Israeli violations of international law against the Palestinian population.” In fact, the resignation followed revelations that Schabas had previously done legal work for the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) – a clear conflict of interest that would have disqualified him from the beginning if it had been disclosed. Furthermore, Schabas’ record of anti-Israel biases includes repeated calls for prosecuting Israeli officials for alleged “war crimes” at the International Criminal Court.
    • As a member of PHROC, submitted a joint complaint to the UN Special Rapporteur concerning review of the residency status of Omar Barghouti, a prominent proponent of BDS. The statement falsely describes BDS as “peacefully pursu[ing] a human rights agenda based on an international law framework”; in fact, BDS are tactics of political warfare, based on the exploitation of human rights double standards, comparisons to apartheid South Africa, and false accusations of “war crimes.”
    • During the 2014 Gaza war, RCHRS together with the other members of PHROC, submitted a letter to the EU accusing Israel of “blatant violations of international law,” “indiscriminately and disproportionally killing Palestinian civilians,” and “war crimes and crimes against humanity.” The letter urges the EU “to resort to all operational measures at its disposal with a view of bringing Israel’s violations of international humanitarian law to an end.”

BDS Activities

  • In May 2018, following the United States relocation of its embassy to Jerusalem, RCHRS signed a call to states to “take immediate and practical measures, including by halting their aid and support to Israel, and imposing sanctions until Israel ends its annexation and unlawful prolonged occupation of the Palestinian territory.”
  • In February 2018, RCHRS signed a statement supporting the discriminatory UN database of businesses operating across the 1949 Armistice line aimed at bolstering BDS campaigns against Israel. According to the statement, “An effective database would give a glimmer of hope to the Palestinian people enduring half a century long military occupation, and stand as a reminder that the international community is committed to putting an end to the illegal settlement enterprise that is stifling their economy, depleting their natural resources, and undermining their human rights.”
  • In April 2015, sent a joint letter to the UN Secretary General urging the UN to divest from the British security company G4S as a result of its servicing detention centers known for “widespread torture and mistreatment of Palestinian political prisoners, including children.”
  • RCHRS joined an April 2012 campaign against companies doing business in Israel, calling to “intensify[ing] the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign to target corporations profiting directly from the Israeli prison system. In particular, we call for action to be taken to hold to account G4S, the world’s largest international security corporation, which helps to maintain and profit from Israel’s prison system, for its complicity with Israeli violations of international law.”
  • In December 2008, RCHRS was a signatory urging the “UN Security Council to … impos[e]… sanctions,” and EU institutions and member states to “…adop[t] immediate restrictive measures and sanctions, as well as cessation of all upgrade dialogue with Israel.”
  • Signatory to the 2005 “Palestinian Civil Society Call for BDS,” which calls for an end to Israel’s “occupation and colonization of all Arab lands” and promotes the right of “Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties.” These goals undermine the fundamental right of the Jewish people to self-determination and would effectually mean the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state.

Partners

  • Member of the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), which refused to sign the anti-terror clause that is a condition of US government funding, stating “that its members would not sign funding agreements that included the ATC [Anti-Terror Certificate]: this is now a condition for membership under PNGO byelaws [sic]” (emphasis added).
    • In April 2017, PNGO called on the international community not to “use aid to undermine legitimate Palestinian resistance.” According to PNGO, “We reject all de-legitimization or criminalization of lawful Palestinian resistance, whether in form of allegations of terrorism, anti-semitism or otherwise… We call on all governments and aid providers to respect our right to lawful resistance, support Palestinian human rights defenders, and ensure equal, impartial and transparent access to funding for all.”
    • In March 2016, as a member of Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), PNGO stated that “Israel’s current government, its most racist ever, has dropped all pretences of ‘enlightenment’ and ‘democracy’. This has helped to expose Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid to world public opinion like never before.”
  • Member of Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC).
  • RCHRS is a member organization of Fédération Internationale des Droits de l’Homme (FIDH), a Paris-based association of international NGOs that is active in anti-Israel BDS campaigns worldwide. The FIDH, which is funded by multiple European governments, is a major leader of BDS campaigns worldwide. The group, composed of 178 member organizations, supported campaigns including the BDS campaign against Orange (2015), promoted the EU product labeling guidelines, and participated in the NGO campaign at the UN Human Rights Council to establish a Commission of Inquiry targeting Israel following the 2014 Gaza War.

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