EU urges Israel not to deport human rights activist


The EU on Monday called on Israel to reverse its decision to deport the Jerusalem-based director of Human Rights Watch (HRW).

“Support for human rights defenders is an integral part of the European Union’s policy on human rights,” Maja Kocijancic, a spokeswoman for the EU Commission, said in a written statement.

“The EU stands firm in protecting freedom of expression and freedom of association and calls on the Israeli Government to reverse its decision on revoking the work visa of Omar Shakir.”

On Nov. 5, the Israeli Supreme Court gave Shakir 20 days to leave the country or face deportation.

Israeli authorities accuse Shakir of supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which Israel has criminalized.

Shakir, for his part, argues that the decision was politically driven and aimed to silence human rights groups working in Israel.

The BDS movement, formed in 2005, calls for a boycott of Israeli companies involved in the Palestinian occupation or violating Palestinian human rights, and for other institutions to divest their interests in those companies.
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