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Israeli court orders deportation of HRW local director

April 17, 2019 2:58 P.M. (Updated: April 19, 2019 10:42 A.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- An Israeli court ordered the deportation of Human Rights Watch's Israel and Palestine director, on Tuesday, and ordered him to leave Israel within two weeks.

The ruling by the Jerusalem District Court came in response to a lawsuit filed in May 2018 by the Human Rights Watch organization and Omar Shakir challenging the Israeli government’s decision to revoke his work permit and the constitutionality of a 2017 Israeli law barring entry to Israel for “people who advocate so-called boycotts of Israel or Israeli settlements.”

The 2017 Israeli Law on Entry authorizes the interior minister to refuse entry to activists or representatives of organizations who publicly call for a boycott of Israel or have made a commitment to participate in such a boycott.

Israel's Interior Minister ordered Shakir's deportation last year, calling him a "boycott activist," a claim that both HRW and Shakir have denied.

The court rejected Shakir’s appeal based on a determination that he “continuously” called for boycotts of Israel, citing his student activism dating back to 2006 before joining HRW.

The court granted Shakir until May 1st to leave Israel. However, HRW will appeal the decision to Israel’s Supreme Court and seek an injunction allowing Shakir to remain in Israel until the appeal is heard.

Tom Porteous, deputy program director at HRW, “Israel portrays itself as the region’s only democracy, but is set to deport a rights defender over his peaceful advocacy.”

Porteous stressed, “The decision sends the chilling message that those who criticize the involvement of businesses in serious abuses in Israeli settlements risk being barred from Israel and the Israeli-occupied West Bank.”

Human Rights Watch is an independent, international non-governmental organization, headquartered in New York City, that promotes respect for human rights and international law, and monitors rights violations in close to 100 counties across the world.

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