Israel gives Human Rights Watch director two weeks to leave country

Israeli officials have clamped down on groups seen as supporting the global campaign for BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions), which aims to pressure Israel to end its occupation of the Palestinian territories. (AFP)
Updated 09 May 2018
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Israel gives Human Rights Watch director two weeks to leave country

JERUSALEM: Israel has given a Human Rights Watch director two weeks to leave the country, accusing him of promoting a boycott, in a move the rights group said sought to muzzle criticism.
The interior ministry said Tuesday it had terminated the residency permit of HRW’s Israel and Palestine director Omar Shakir, a US citizen, over accusations that he supported a boycott of Israel.
“Following the recommendations of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, containing information that Shakir has been a BDS activist for years supporting the boycott of Israel in an active way, the ministry has decided to terminate (his) residence permit,” the interior ministry said in a statement.
Israeli officials have clamped down on groups seen as supporting the global campaign for BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions), which aims to pressure Israel to end its occupation of the Palestinian territories.
HRW has written several critical reports about the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.
Israel’s government, seen as the most right-wing in the country’s history, has been accused of putting pressure on both international and local rights organizations.
Shakir, who received permission to work in Israel in April 2017, months after being barred from the country, now has 14 days to leave, the New York-based rights group said.
“This is not about Shakir, but rather about muzzling Human Rights Watch and shutting down criticism of Israel’s rights record,” HRW said in a statement.
“Neither Human Rights Watch nor its representative, Shakir, promotes boycotts of Israel.”


Sudan lawmakers postpone meeting on Bashir term limits

Updated 6 min 33 sec ago
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Sudan lawmakers postpone meeting on Bashir term limits

  • The session, set for Sunday, has been shelved for the time being, the official SUNA news agency said
  • Bashir, who is facing deadly nationwide protests against his three-decade rule, is considering running for a third term in elections scheduled for next year

KHARTOUM: A Sudanese parliamentary committee has postponed a meeting on amending the country’s constitution to allow President Omar Al-Bashir to run for a new term, state media reported Saturday.
The session, set for Sunday, has been shelved for the time being, the official SUNA news agency said, without giving a new date.
Bashir, who is facing deadly nationwide protests against his three-decade rule, is considering running for a third term in elections scheduled for next year.
But for that to happen, lawmakers must amend the country’s constitution, which currently allows presidents two five-year terms.
“The committee’s meeting has been postponed and a new date will be announced,” SUNA reported.
Bashir’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and its allies have an overwhelming majority in parliament, and in August the party named the veteran leader as its candidate for the 2020 poll.
The parliamentary committee was formed in late 2018 to consider the constitutional amendments necessary to keep Bashir in power, and it was set to meet Sunday for the first time.
Bashir, 75, swept to power in an Islamist-backed coup in 1989, but he faced his first multi-party election in 2010.
In 2015, he took 94 percent of the vote in the face of opposition boycotts. He later said he would not run for a third term.
Rights groups have said both elections lacked credibility.
Bashir has proved to be a political survivor, facing down both domestic and international challenges over the years, but since December 19 he has faced daily nationwide rallies against his rule.
Analysts say the ongoing protest movement is the biggest threat Bashir has faced since coming to power, with demonstrators calling for his resignation.
Protesters chanting “freedom, peace, justice,” have taken to the streets daily, blaming Bashir for the country’s dire economic conditions.
Officials say 31 people have died in protest-related violence so far, while Human Rights Watch has put the death toll at 51.
Bashir has remained defiant, saying the ballot box is the only route through which a government can be changed.