The National Campaign for the Protection of Civic Action
No to the undermining of the Basic Law and Rights System
We, the undersigned civil society institutions and coalitions, express our rejection of any tampering with the legal system on the eve of elections. We consider this a means of manipulation that could undercut these elections and limit spaces for civic action, impacting the freedom of opinion, organization, gathering and expression. It is tantamount to a coup against the Palestinian Basic Law and the Declaration of Independence, both of which constitute a social contract between the various components of the Palestinian people until a constitution for the State of Palestine is written.
We call on President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian government to cancel all laws by decree that infringe on public freedoms and the separation of authorities, particularly the Law by Decree, No. 7 of 2021, which confines and stymies the work of civil society institutions and undermines their role in defending the interests of our people and supporting their steadfastness in the face of ethnic cleansing and forced expulsion, in addition to adopting projects that support Palestinian resolve against Israeli annexation plans and encroachment.
We also express our rejection of the Law by Decree, No. 40 of 2020, which infringes on the principle of separation between the authorities and attaches the judicial authority to the executive authority and all laws by decree that limit the independence and freedom of union work.
We, as civil society, have exhausted all means of dialogue with the government to persuade it to renege on the aforementioned laws by decree, with no meaningful response. In particular, the implementation of the Law by Decree No. 7 of 2021 by the Ministry of Interior and any relevant ministry will render all civil society institutions vulnerable to the arbitrariness of the executive authority. It also exposes its executive teams and boards of directors to legal accountability in accordance with this law by decree that runs contradictory to the Basic Law. Therefore, we declare our boycott of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs conference, to be held on Tuesday, March 30, 2021 under the auspices of Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh and suspend our participation in joint activities with the government henceforth until the law by decree is cancelled. We also announce as of the start of this week, we will escalate our activities to overturn this law by decree.
We support the mainstreaming of principles of accountability and good governance in all sectors, in accordance with the law and far removed from arbitrariness, the silencing of voices, stifling of freedoms and destruction of civil society institutions. This is so the system of accountability and integrity is capable of operating with efficiency in the defense of our people’s interests, dignity and status among civilized nations. We call on all components of the executive authority to respect the Basic Law and international obligations of the State of Palestine, for which we seek a respectable standing among counties that honor public freedoms.
*The National campaign for the protection of civic action is comprised of a broad-based alliance of civil society coalitions that reject the Law by Decree No. 7 of 2021.