ICHR Condemns the Attack on Participants in the Peaceful Assembly in Downtown Gaza and Calls for an Investigation

18 June 2018

16/2018

 

ICHR Condemns the Attack on Participants in the Peaceful Assembly in Downtown Gaza and Calls for an Investigation and Holding Responsible Officials to Account

 

The Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) condemns the attack by members of Hamas and security agencies in the Gaza Strip on demonstrators, who participated in a peaceful assembly in Al-Saraya Square on Monday morning, 18 June 2018. Demonstrators called for ending the internal Palestinian political divide, restoring national unity, and suspending sanctions and actions taken against the Gaza Strip.

According to ICHR’s documentation, the demonstration was held at the invitation of the Commission of Prisoners and Released Prisoners and brought together a number of factions, writers, eminent persons, and released prisoners. At the beginning of the event, almost 100 individuals in plainclothes and wearing Keffiyehs and white caps were deployed in the midst of demonstrators. They chanted “Down with Abbas” and demanded that Abbas step down. An altercation broke out between organisers and these individuals, who assaulted participants with batons, threw stones, and damaged the platform. Later, the persons with white caps left in white jeeps with government licence plates.

Major General Tawfiq Abu Na’im, Director of the General of Internal Security Forces in the Gaza Strip, participated in the demonstration in his capacity as a released prisoner. Abu Na’im stated that no security personnel were present. However, ICHR documentation shows that General Investigations and Internal Security personnel prosecuted, prevented a number of citizens and journalists from taking photographs, and forced them to delete the footage they had captured. This indicates that the attacks were coordinated with, and protected by, the Gaza-based security agencies, violating their role to protect and ensure that participants enjoy the right to peaceful assembly.

Against this background,

  1. ICHR calls on duty-bearers in the Gaza Strip to respect citizens’ right to peaceful assembly and right to freedom of expression.
  2. ICHR calls on the Gaza-based Public Prosecution to open a criminal investigation into the attack on peaceful demonstrators.
  3. ICHR calls on the Gaza-based duty-bearers to assume their responsibilities and announce the true course of events to citizens without delusion.
  4. ICHR expresses concern at the deteriorating status of rights and freedoms in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. ICHR is of the view that putting an end to the internal Palestinian political divide is a national need that cannot be delayed.

 

Ends