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Statement by Minister Coveney on the designation of Palestinian NGOs as terrorist organisations

I am concerned at the designation by Israel’s Ministry of Defence of six Palestinian NGOs, including organisations in receipt of support from Irish Aid and the EU, as terrorist entities on Friday, 22 October. The EU is in touch with Israeli authorities to seek clarification. We were not informed in advance of these designations, and have not received detailed evidence.

Ireland is committed to funding civil society organisations and human rights defenders through the Irish Aid programme, including Palestinian civil society, and maintains robust checks to ensure that our funding is used only for the purpose intended. Previous allegations against civil society organisations in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) which are supported by Ireland and the EU have not been substantiated. 

Terrorism is a very serious issue, and must be addressed with both resolve and with evidence. As stated by UN human rights experts in their statement of 25 October: ‘anti-terrorism legislation is designed for a specific and restricted purpose, and must not be used to unjustifiably undermine civil liberties or to curtail the legitimate work of human rights organisations’.  This designation has the potential to impact, not only these six organisations, but civil society more broadly across the oPt and to seriously undermine vital humanitarian, development and human rights work. 

Civil Society Organisations and human rights defenders play a critical role in promoting international law, peace, human rights and democratic values. Ireland will continue to support such efforts bilaterally and at EU and UN level.

ENDS

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