The UN Human Rights Office condemns Israel’s deportation of Palestinian-French human rights defender Salah Hammouri to France on Sunday, and we are deeply concerned by the chilling message this sends to those working on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory.
The Israeli authorities revoked Hammouri’s residency in occupied East Jerusalem on the basis of “breach of allegiance to the State of Israel”. Hammouri, a lawyer with Palestinian human rights organization Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, was arrested by Israeli Security Forces in March and placed under administrative detention without any charge or trial.
International humanitarian law prohibits the deportation of protected persons from occupied territory, and explicitly forbids compelling such persons to swear allegiance to the occupying power. Deporting a protected person from occupied territory is a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention, constituting a war crime.
Hammouri’s deportation highlights the vulnerable situation of Palestinians living in East Jerusalem, as the occupying power has granted them a revokable residency status under Israeli law. It also marks another serious deterioration in the situation for Palestinian human rights defenders. The UN Human Rights Office calls on Israel to reverse the deportation order and to stop using such allegations to halt legitimate human rights work.