Defending Freedom of Speech

The Palestinian Authority has recently attempted to arrest Palestinian Member of Parliament Najat Abu Bakr, after she expressed her support for the teachers’ strike in the West Bank, and accused Hussein al-Araj, a minister closely associated with President Mahmoud Abbas, of corruption. Najat Abu Bakr has resisted arrest, staging a sit-in in the building of the Palestinian Legislative Council, since February 25. The arrest warrant against Abu Bakr violates Palestinian Constitutional Basic Law which grants members of parliament immunity.

Freedom of opinion and expression are one of the main focuses of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and are at the foundation of any democratic society. The ILF joined human right groups from around the world who protested this severe violation of human rights, by sending a letter to the Human Rights Council demanding that they condemn violations of freedom of speech, and call upon the Palestinian Authority to immediately release any individual arrested for exercising his/her universal right to free speech.