Showing posts with label censorship. Show all posts
Showing posts with label censorship. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Le Monde: Western donors punish human rights organizations because of their support for Gaza

    Wednesday, December 27, 2023   No comments

The French newspaper Le Monde said that civil society organizations in many Middle Eastern countries are extremely angry because of their loss of European funding, after they condemned the Israeli attack on Gaza.

The newspaper - in a report by its correspondents Laure Stephane in Beirut and Clotilde Mravco in Jerusalem - reviewed the story of the Egyptian lawyer Azza Soliman, who had been relying on German support for about 10 years, and learned that Germany would withdraw the funds allocated from her for a project to support women victims of human trafficking.

This came after it signed - with more than 200 Arab organizations - a text condemning “genocide against the Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip” and calling for sanctions to be imposed on Israel, “the occupying and apartheid state.”

The punishment sparked intense anger within Egyptian civil society, which denounced this censorship. The lawyer said, “Do the German authorities want to discipline us? Teach us what we have the right to say? It is a scandal.” However, the German Foreign Ministry said that it acted because of “the public statements of the Seola organization and its founder, Azza Soliman.” , which contradicts “the Berlin line, including the call for an economic boycott of Israel.”

This decision comes within a broader framework - according to the newspaper - since the attack by Hamas on Israel on October 7, during which Germany reviewed the projects funded “in the region,” which “includes a re-evaluation of the political positions and announcements of our partners, with regard to these issues.” 

The newspaper saw that Arab human rights defenders risk losing their funding if they do not adhere to the political line of this donor regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, at a time when the unconditional support provided by Washington and the majority of European leaders for Israel arouses discontent in the Arab world, in light of the massacre committed by Israel. against civilians in Gaza.

Other European governments want to reconsider their partnerships with civil society organizations in the Middle East, especially Palestinian NGOs, after the European Union generalized the “combat incitement” to hatred and violence clause to all new contracts signed with Palestinian actors, including vague language, which is likely To be used to force beneficiaries to silence their work denouncing the Israeli occupation.

For its part, Sweden intends to ask its Palestinian partners to condemn Hamas. Switzerland also announced the end of its cooperation with 3 Palestinian non-governmental organizations, considering that its statements after the Hamas attack are not consistent with its rules of conduct. The director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, lawyer Raji Sourani, says, “It is an issue that returns.” "For political motives."

At the end of November, Amnesty International and about 100 organizations denounced this pressure, which is seen in the Middle East as a reflection of right-wing policies in Europe, and considered it an obstacle to freedom of expression and opinion.

Le Monde believed that the conditions imposed on non-governmental organizations threaten to weaken civil societies that rely heavily on Western funds, at a time when their silence in the face of the ongoing massacre in Gaza means losing their credibility in the region.


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