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Press release

 

Two PCHR staff members deported by Israeli authorities in two days

 

 

Date: 24 June, 2002
Ref: 88/2002

 

Authorities at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv have for the second day in a row refused entry to a PCHR staff member. Eva Rinsten, a Swedish lawyer coming to work for PCHR, was early this morning denied entry and send back to Sweden only 1 ½ hour after her arrival at approximately 5.30. Ms. Rinsten arrived at approximately 04.00 today on a KLM flight. She was interrogated, denied entry and immediately put back on the same KLM flight she came with.

 

Yesterday morning PCHR International Legal Officer Victoria Metcalfe, a British citizen, was denied entry, detained for more than 10 hours in a holding cell at the airport before being sent back to the UK. Both Ms. Rinsten and Ms. Metcalfe have told PCHR, that a number of foreigners trying to enter Israel was denied entry and deported along with them. Similar reports from local and international NGOs and individuals prove that Israeli authorities in recent months have escalated the practice of denying entry to foreign human rights workers, activists and journalists; including two Belgian citizens seeking to visit the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) on 10 April and 38 French activists on 8 April. Three days ago 200 Italian activists were refused entry.

 

PCHR as well as the Swedish Embassy are now investigating Ms. Rinsten’s case and the reason for her deportation. PCHR will furthermore continue to work through legal channels to ensure that Ms. Rinsten and Ms. Metcalfe will be able to return to the OPT to continue their work with PCHR.

 

PCHR international staff members have not before been denied entry into Israel. PCHR condemns the deportation of two of its staff members and are extremely concerned about the Israeli policy of obstructing professional human rights lawyers from working with an internationally recognized human rights organisation. This deportation policy is part of an overall policy of obstructing internationals from witnessing, collecting evidence and communicating to the international community about Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights. PCHR calls upon relevant bodies, including governments and international human rights organisations, to demand that the Israeli government allow human rights defenders to carry out their work.

 

To protest, please write to the following addresses:
 

Ariel Sharon
Prime Minister of Israel
Fax: + 972 2 566 48 38 / 691 79 15
E-mail: pm@pmo.gov.il
Cc to: feedback@pmo.gov.il, rohm@pmo.gov.il
Eli Yishai
Interior Minster of Israel
Email: sar@moin.gov.il

Shimon Peres
Foreign Minister of Israel
Fax: + 972 2 530 3704
E-mail: sar@mfa.gov.il
Cc to:
Office of the Deputy Foreign Minister (ssar@mfa.gov.il)
Director General (mankal@mfa.gov.il)
Spokesman’s office (dover@mfa.gov.il)
Public Relations (pniot@mfa.gov.il)
 
Benyamin Ben-Eliezer
Defence Minister of Israel
Fax: +972 3 697 6990
E-mail: sar@mod.gov.il
 
 
Kindly inform PCHR of any action taken and cc messages to: pchr@pchrgaza.org or by fax at +972 8 282 4776 or 282 5893.
 
 

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