Time: 13:00 GMT
PCHR strongly condemns the statement issued by the Palestinian National Liberation Movement (Fatah) at an-Najah National University in reaction to a report published by the Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizens’ Rights (PICCR), and expresses complete solidarity with PICCR in the light of the threats included in the statement, which constitute a serious assault against activities of human rights defenders and organizations. PCHR calls upon the leadership of Fatah Movement to apologize for the statement and to ensure that neither PICCR nor its staff may be hurt.
PICCR has recently published a report focusing on the conclusions of investigations it conducted into the clashes that took place at an-Najah National University on 24 July 2007 between the Islamic Bloc, affiliated to Hamas, and the Student Youth Movement, affiliated to Fatah Movement, in which a student was killed. Through testimonies and information it had collated, PICCR concluded in its report, inter alia, that “the investigation conducted by the Attorney-General into the killing of a student was weak, and registered the case against unknown people although the crime was committed openly and a number of eyewitnesses asserted that they saw the crime and its perpetrators.” The report further concluded that “security services failed to take effective measures to protect the campus and to prevent militants from entering it, which served to further deterioration to the situation making it out of control and leading to the death of a student.”
In reaction to the report, a statement signed by Fatah Movement at an-Najah National University was issued, challenging the credibility and independence of PICCR and its staff. The statement called upon PICCR “to apologize for the report and to confess that it is not an independent body that can issue fair reports, and it needs to be taught the meaning of independence…” The statement ended with a statement of threat, “who has warned is not to be blamed then.”
PCHR strongly condemns this statement, and:
1) Expresses its complete solidarity with the PICCR in the face of such threats, and highly appreciates PICCR’s professional and independent role in defending human rights;
2) Reiterates its calls for the Attorney-General to investigate the clashes that took place at the campus of an-Najah National University, and condemns registering the case against unknown people, although the crime is clear and eyewitnesses are available;
3) Calls upon the leadership of Fatah Movement to publicly apologize for the statement issued by the movement at an-Najah National University, which constitutes a grave assault against human rights defenders and organizations in general; and
4) Believes that it is of the interest of Fatah Movement and other Palestinian political factions:
· To be aware of what human rights organizations say and their criticism for any body, and to join them in defending human rights;
· To make efforts to conform with the principles of human rights organizations rather than employing their activities for narrow political interests; and
· To protect and maintain the credibility and independence of human rights organizations.