Two UN human rights experts have urged Israeli authorities to half efforts to deport the Palestinian photojournalist Mustafa Al-Nadir Iyad Al-Kharouf, and to regularise his status in Jerusalem.
Last month, Israel tried to expel Al-Kharouf into Jordan, which refused to accept him as he does not have residency rights in the country.
Michael Lynk, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, said the attempt to deport Al-Kharouf “raises serious concerns under both international humanitarian law and international human rights law”.
“Forcible transfer is considered a grave breach of the Geneva Convention, and is defined as a war crime and a crime against humanity by the Rome Statute,” he added.
“Previously…questioned about the nature of his work as a photojournalist,” the statement notes, “[Al-Kharouf’s] application for family unification, which would allow him to continue to live in East Jerusalem with his wife and child, was denied on the basis of secret evidence in December 2018.”
In January, Israeli forces arrested Al-Kharouf, since which time he has been jailed without charge.
David Kaye, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion
and expression, said: “The detention and deportation of Mr. Al-Kharouf directly interfere with Al-Kharouf’s legitimate exercise of rights to freedom of opinion and expression as a photojournalist.”
Both rapporteurs urged the Israeli government not to deprive Al-Kharouf “of his liberty arbitrarily, and to ensure that his rights to freedom of opinion and expression were protected”.
The UN Human Rights office statement noted that “Palestinians living in East Jerusalem face serious challenges to their residency in the city, with family unification and other types of permits becoming increasingly precarious.”
“The precedent which could be set by this case, should we see a Palestinian deported to a country where he has no ties and no legal status, on the basis of secret evidence, is highly problematic,” the two experts said.
“We take this opportunity to remind the Government of Israel of its solemn obligations under international law,” they added.