Ramallah Center for Human Rights Studies (RCHRS)
|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.”|
- The organization does not publish financial information, reflecting a lack of transparency and accountability.
- 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 November 2021, RCHRS submitted a “joint appeal” to the “United Nations Special Procedures on Israel’s Permanent Illegal Annexation of Jerusalem,” claiming that the “Israeli land title settlement and registration plan…is part of a bigger vision of a ‘Unified Jerusalem’, which involves a Jewish majority, and further Palestinian dispossession and fragmentation, with the ultimate aim of establishing and maintaining Israel’s settler-colonial and apartheid regime.”
- In April 2021, RCHRS was a signatory on a joint submission to the UN Secretary-General on Intimidation and Reprisals for Cooperation with the UN, stating that “Since its establishment, Israel has created and maintained an institutionalised regime of racial domination and oppression, amounting to apartheid, over the Palestinian people as a whole…Israel has sought to fundamentally undermine key human rights and accountability work and thereby further entrenched impunity for its apartheid regime over Palestinians.”
- In April 2021, RCHRS signed a joint statement welcoming the decision of the International Criminal Court to launch a formal investigation into alleged war crimes committed by Israel in the “State of Palestine.” According to the statement, “This is a long-awaited and a critically important step towards ensuring the rule of law and ending impunity, while ensuring accountability for Israel’s crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court.”
- In February 2021, RCHRS published a policy paper titled “United States Policy on Palestine: 2021 and Beyond” calling for the “US to reevaluate its past blanket support of Israel” and “end the decades long environment of impunity that it has enabled for Israel to entrench its settler colonization and apartheid in the Palestinian territory.” The policy calls to “ban the import of all Israeli settlement products and services” and “End all military aid to Israel.”
- In January 2021, RCHRS, alongside a number of Palestinian organizations, issued a declaration that the “Vaccine Roll-Out Exposes Israel’s Inhumane Acts of Apartheid.” RCHRS falsely claimed that Israel has “legal obligations” to “ensure that quality vaccines be provided to Palestinians living under Israeli occupation and control.” The NGOs altogether ignore that Palestinians residing in Jerusalem are part of the Israeli health care system; that under the Oslo Accords the PA is responsible for health care of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza; and that the PA has adopted its own vaccine policy for its population.
- In July 2020, RCHRS was a signatory on an urgent appeal to the United Nations referring to Israel’s alleged “shoot-to-kill policy” as “contributing to the maintenance of Israel’s apartheid regime of systematic racial oppression and domination over the Palestinian people as a whole, which, embedded in a system of impunity, prevents Palestinians from effectively challenging Israel’s apartheid policies and practices.”
- In May 2020, RCHRS signed a statement referring to the Nakba as being “far from a distant memory for the Palestinian people: it is an ongoing reality of Israeli settler-colonialism, population transfer, apartheid, and dispossession, policies which have never ended and continue to be entrenched today.” The statement further called to “take effective legal and political measures to eradicate colonialism, to bring perpetrators of suspected war crimes and crimes against humanity to justice at the ICC, and to publicly recognise and collectively overcome Israel’s apartheid regime imposed over the Palestinian people as a whole.”
- In October 2019, RCHRS was a signatory on a letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief stating that the IHRA definition “is currently being used to silence human rights defenders speaking out against government policies of repression in territories under effective military control.”
- The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, adopted by nearly 30 countries and counting, represents the international consensus definition of antisemitism, as well as how to distinguish between legitimate criticism of Israel and antisemitism. An example of the latter includes denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
- 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.”
- In May 2021, RCHRS was a signatory on a statement calling to “Ban arms trade and military-security cooperation with Israel,” “Suspend free-trade agreements with Israel,” and “Ensure that individuals and corporate actors responsible for war crimes/crimes against humanity in the context of Israel’s regime of illegal occupation and apartheid are brought to justice.”
- In September 2020, RCHRS called for the UN General Assembly to “Launch international investigations into Israel’s apartheid regime over the Palestinian people as a whole, as well as associated State and individual criminal responsibility,” to “Ban arms trade and military-security cooperation with Israel,” and “Prohibit all trade with illegal Israeli settlements and ensure that companies refrain from and terminate business activities with Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise.”
- In July 2020, in response to the “Report of the Special Rapporteur addressing Israel’s Collective Punishment Policy,” RCHRS called on “Third States to adopt effective measures to put an end to Israel’s illegal and inhumane policies of collective punishment, including sanctions and countermeasures, to bring the illegal situation to an end” (emphasis added).
- In July 2020, RCHRS was a signatory on a statement calling for “Immediate targeted sanctions to stop Israel’s annexation and apartheid.” The statement further called for “A ban on arms trade and military-security cooperation with Israel,” “Suspension of trade and cooperation agreements with Israel,” and “Investigation and prosecution of individuals and corporate actors responsible for war crimes/crimes against humanity in the context of Israel’s regime of illegal occupation and apartheid.”
- In March 2020, RCHRS was a signatory on a letter to OHCHR High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet praising the High Commissioner for publishing the list and stating that it “look[s] forward to continuing to work with the OHCHR, with a view toward ending corporate impunity for profiting from grave breaches of international law.”
- 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.
- 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 January 2020, PNGO vehemently opposed a new clause in European Union grant contracts with Palestinian NGOs that prohibits grantees from working with and funding organizations and individuals designated on the EU’s terror lists. According to media reports, PNGO claimed that Palestinian terrorist organizations are “political parties.”
- 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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