Human Rights Defenders will be free to carry out their peaceful and legitimate work to promote human rights without fear of attack and harassment by the authorities.
Over the past decade, systems that protect human rights and work to realize substantive democracy have come increasingly under attack in Israel.
The reduction of democratic space in Israel has many aspects including impingement on freedom of expression and the independence of the judiciary, and attacks on gatekeepers and on the rights of the country’s Palestinian citizens. Despite the cumulative impact of each of these aspects and the inextricable links between them, HRDF’s recent paper focuses on the targeting of HRDs, as individuals, groups and organizations.
We are witnessing a harsh campaign against Israeli HRDs who protest against Israel’s occupation of the OPT which targets, in particular, individuals who regularly participate in joint Palestinian-Israeli demonstrations in the West Bank.
In 2017-2018 we are seeing an increased use of civil law as a tool to threaten or harm HRDs, with the desire to deter and silence them. Many activist received libel lawsuits, or threats of such lawsuits (including warning before filing a lawsuit or demand for ‘compensation’ to prevent lawsuit), following things they said or wrote as part of their Human Rights’ protection activity, usually on social media.