Netherlands - Event

Webinar: Challenging the Repression of Palestinian Rights Advocacy

Published on Wed Nov 10 2021 - modified on Fri Nov 19 2021

The European Legal Support Center (ELSC), PAX, SOMO, The Rights Forum and Al Haq are inviting you to a webinar on Challenging the Repression of Palestinian Rights Advocacy on the 18th of November 2021 at 5.30pm.

See the recording of the webinar:

In response to Israel’s designation of six prominent Palestinian human rights NGOs and civil society organisations as “terrorist”, Palestinian and international civil society organisations have collectively called upon the international community to take all necessary measures to protect Palestinian rights’ advocates. 32 Dutch organisations called on the Dutch government to publicly speak out against the decision of the Israeli government and to condemn it as an unjustified restriction on civil society as well as take action to protect human rights defenders in Palestine and those who stand up for the rights of Palestinians anywhere in the world.

During the webinar, Wesam Ahmad, a Director at the Center for Applied International Law in Al Haq – one of the six leading organisations groundlessly designated – will discuss the implications of this repression on Palestinian civil society. He will also address the responsibilities of third states parties such as The Netherlands and concrete actions we should expect from our authorities.

We will highlight the importance of civic space for human rights advocates in the Palestine/Israel context in general but also how it is connected to shrinking civic space in The Netherlands, through Giovanni Fassina and Lydia de Leeuw’s interventions. A recent ELSC report shows evidence of clear patterns to shrink civic space of individuals and groups expressing in favour of the rights of the Palestinians or criticising illegal Israeli policies, through deliberate smear campaigns, attempts to defund, cyberattacks, threats with lawsuits, and restrictions on academic freedom. Fassina will speak about the role and responsibilities of the Dutch government in protecting and promoting civic space.

The discussion will be moderated by Thomas Van Gool from PAX and the interventions will be followed by questions from the audience. The language will be English.

Registration is mandatory: REGISTER HERE. The link to access the webinar will be sent a few hours before the webinar.


  • Thomas Van Gool, PAX: Welcome and introduction
  • Wesam Ahmad, Al-Haq: On the Ground Testimonies of Repression against Palestinian Civil Society
  • Giovanni Fassina, European Legal Support Center (ELSC): Main findings of the report on the Attempt to Chill Palestinian Rights’ Advocacy in the Netherlands
  • Lydia De Leeuw, the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO): A case-study on attempted repression of civic space for Palestine related human rights research and advocacy  
  • Discussion – Q&A
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