On June 13, 2017, the upper house of the Swiss parliament rejected an effort to criminalize and ban financial support of organizations committed to promote human rights and international law, in Occupied Palestinian Territory.
Following the decision, the Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network said that the right to engage for the rights of the Palestinian people through BDS is publically recognized by the EU as well as the governments of the Netherlands, Ireland and Sweden.
Swiss foreign minister Didier Bur khalter said “We should not throw away the baby with the bath water,” Burkhalter said. “Swiss values must not be abandoned, especially when democracy and civil society are supported, in accordance with the constitution, which provides general support for peace, democracy and civil society.”
In a statement, PNGO said: “Israeli oppression must be stopped; Israeli occupation continues to violate international law through collective punishment, expansion of settlements and annexations, the Apartheid Wall, denying Palestinians Refugees the right of return and the Siege of Gaza.”
“Freedom of expression is one of the basic freedoms that a free society should safeguard and guarantee, including the right of individuals to express his or her opinion and personal views. Peaceful pressure on Israel to comply with international law is legal; Israel continues to scramble to undermine peaceful resistance. This includes through advocating for legislation aimed to undermine the Palestinian legitimate human right to political, economic and social change,” PNGO added.
“Any exclusion of NGOs or Community-based organizations from access to foreign aid because of their role in defending Palestinian human rights, are arbitrary, discriminatory and must end.”
PNGO called on other governments and aid providers to respect our right to freedom of expression, support Palestinian human rights defenders, and ensure equal, impartial and transparent access to funding for all.