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Press briefing on Israel

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:  Marta Hurtado

Location: Geneva 

Date: 29 November 2019

Subject: Israel

Yesterday, the High Commissioner met with Omar Shakir, the Israel and Palestine director of Human Rights Watch who was compelled to leave Israel on 25 November 2019, after the Israeli Supreme Court upheld the legality of the Government's decision to not renew his visa. The High Commissioner deeply regrets this decision, which both the UN Human Rights Office and a group of three UN Special Rapporteurs* had urged the Government to reverse in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling. The expulsion of Mr Shakir casts a shadow over Israel's commitments to freedom of expression and freedom of association, as well as over the ability of human rights defenders and organisations to carry out their important work. The Special Rapporteurs pointed out that the freedoms of expression and association protect the expression of support for, or opposition to, movements such as the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions), which do not incite discrimination, violence or hostility.

For more information and media requests, please contact: Rupert Colville - + 41 22 917 9767 / rcolville@ohchr.org or Ravina Shamdasani - 41 22 917 9169 / rshamdasani@ohchr.org or Marta Hurtado - + 41 22 917 9466 / mhurtado@ohchr.org

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