Omar Shakir pledges to continue work from neighbouring country

Occupied Palestine (QNN)- Omar Shakir, a senior Human Rights Watch (HRW) official, who is expected to be expelled from the occupation state over his alleged support for the BDS movement will continue carrying out his work from a neighbouring country, according to the rights group.

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The Israeli government’s decision to expel Omar Shakir, a US citizen who represents HRW in Palestine, was upheld by Israel’s top court on November 5, after months of deliberations.

“Despite my deportation today, the Israeli government has failed to muzzle HRW or the human rights movement,” Shakir said at a press conference in Jerusalem, alongside Kenneth Roth, HRW’s executive director.

“It’s [the case] about an escalation of assaults on the human rights movement,” Shakir said.

“There must be a reboot in the way the international community engages around this issue … So long as there’s no consequence for the regular human rights abuse, so long as impunity reigns, you will only see more and more rights defenders coming under pressure,” he said.

Roth stated that Shakir will continue to “direct the work”, and would likely resume working from Amman.

“Human Rights Watch will not submit to the blackmail of the abuser,” Roth said at the press conference.

“It so often happens the censorship effort has only heightened global interest in what’s being censored … It has only intensified the spotlight on Israeli misconduct,” Roth said.

Shakir is expected to leave the occupation state on Monday afternoon, being the first human rights activist, who gets expelled over BDS support.

The occupation state has previously barred entry to several figures, who publicly support a boycott of Israel or its settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Shakir stated that it “has never been about BDS. It has always been about the Israeli government’s efforts to muzzle Human Rights Watch, but it’s had exactly the opposite effect”.

Ruth assured that the organization “finds ways to cover” countries that have barred its researchers even if they are not able to be on the ground.

“They all thought that if you can somehow silence the messenger, you can then silence Human Rights Watch. It didn’t work out. We find ways to cover these countries even if our researcher is not able to be on the ground and we’ll do the same thing with Israel,” he said.

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