In response to today’s decision by Israel’s Supreme Court to postpone the July 25, 2019 hearing challenging the government’s decision to deport Human Rights Watch’s country director, Omar Shakir, Human Rights Watch has canceled a news conference scheduled for July 25. The following statement may be attributed to Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch.
“The Israeli government should recognize that the world views its effort to deport Human Rights Watch’s researcher as an attempt to shut down human rights advocacy. The Israeli government may not like people pointing out the human rights violations inherent in its settlement enterprise, but that is legitimate speech that the government has no business punishing. The real problem here is Israeli legislation that empowers the government to throw people out for peaceful advocacy.
Human Rights Watch is grateful for the outpouring of local and international support for our efforts to challenge the deportation of our country director. This support reflects an understanding that this effort is an attack on the broader human rights movement. We will continue to fight not only to allow Omar to continue doing his job from Jerusalem, but to expose human rights abuses by all parties.”