The Independent Commission for Human Rights called on President Mahmoud Abbas not to extend the state of emergency at the beginning of next month, to announce its cessation, and to enhance public freedom. This came in two separate letters addressed to President Abbas.
ICHR called on President Abbas not to renew the state of emergency at the beginning of next month, and stressed the importance of declaring its cessation in the State of Palestine at the international and regional levels, given the absence of the need that prompted its declaration, as well as the significant improvement of the epidemiological situation.
ICHR argued that the government could respond to the epidemiological developments, emergencies and the remnants of the pandemic by relying on the Public Health Law of 2004 and the Civil Defense Act of 1998.
ICHR indicated that the Ministry of Health’s statistics show a significant decline in the number of coronavirus infections, reversal of the epidemiological curve and approaching “herd immunity”, thanks to the measures taken by the government since the beginning of the pandemic.
The letters also cited the high recovery rate, which reached 92.9%, as the percentage of active infections was 6.1%, death rate was 1.1% of all infections, and the number of those who received the vaccine reached nearly 900, 000 people. ICHR also pointed out that the Ministry of Health received nearly one million doses of vaccines of all kinds. It is noteworthy that ICHR was against extending the state of emergency, which the President renews on monthly bases.
ICHR indicated that it recently monitored the continued arrests and summoning by the security services in the West Bank against citizens on the ground exercising their legitimate rights. This is particularly because of what they write on their social media and the criticism they make against public authorities.
Some of those arrested and summoned suffered ill treatment in detentions. The commission also pointed out that these arrests came after the decision to postpone the legislative elections in the wake of the Israeli occupation’s aggression on Gaza Strip and Jerusalem. ICHR called on the President to issue directives to the competent authorities to enforce the presidential decree promoting freedom, which the President issued on February 20, 2021.
ICHR stated that these arrests constitute a violation of the citizens’ right to freedom of expression and personal freedom, violation of the amended Basic Law and violation of the Presidential Decree on the Promotion of Public Freedoms.
In addition, these arrests infringe on the State of Palestine’s obligations under the core United Nations human rights treaties which it acceded in May 2014.