The Anawanti network condemns israel’s criminalization campaign against UPWC and other palestinian human rights organizations

  |   Statements

October 19, the Israeli Ministry of Defense labeled six Palestinian human rights NGOs as “terrorist organizations”. One of these organizations is the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, UPWC, member organization of the International Network of Organizations Against Male Violence, Anawanti,.



UPWC is a grassroots organization, made up of thousands of Palestinian women, which promotes the human rights of Palestinian women and strives to empower them to achieve true equality between men and women, as well as equity between all social classes. UPWC is also part of the Palestinian movement against the illegal Israeli occupation to achieve national independence and works against militarization, as well as all forms of discrimination, wherever they take place. Its work falls within the definition provided by the European Union in its Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders: “Human rights defenders are those individuals, groups and organs of society that promote and protect universally recognised human rights and fundamental freedoms. Human rights defenders seek the promotion and protection of civil and political rights as well as the promotion, protection and realisation of economic, social and cultural rights”.



This is not the first time that the State of Israel attacks the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees. Its president, Ms. Khitam AlSaafin, has been detained since November 2, 2020, when the Israeli army raided her residence in Beitunia (West Bank). Khitam AlSaafin, who is also a member of the secretariat of the General Union of Palestinian Women and a recognized feminist activist, is the visible face of thousands of women and contributes with her work to denounce the consequences of Israeli policies against the Palestinian population and women.



The order issued by the Israeli Ministry of Defense last October 19, designing UPWC and five other Palestinian human rights NGOs as “terrorist organizations”, is an unprecedented attack, without evidence or legal basis, against the entire international community working for the fulfillment of human rights in Palestine. These are the organizations that in the first instance, denounce the Israeli occupation and apartheid practices also evidenced by international organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.



Therefore, the organizations of the Anawanti network express our total repudiation and condemnation of this campaign of criminalization and prosecution of Palestinian civil society organizations and, by extension, of international cooperation and humanitarian action in the Occupied Palestinian Territory by the occupying forces who, profiting the permissiveness of the international community, continues to breach with impunity its obligation to guarantee the rights of the occupied population.



We echo the joint statement issued by the main Palestinian NGO networks, PNGO (142 organizations) and PHROC (11 organizations), and condemn the designation of the Israeli Ministry of Defense against Palestinian organizations, making our own the demands of the Palestinian civil society. 



We join the requests being made by various organizations, so that the administrations and international holders of obligations, according to international law, publicly and urgently condemn and sanction the persecution and repression, through the alleged criminalization of Palestinian organizations by the state of Israel.



Signed by:


SUDS – Spain
Fundación SURT – Spain
Centro de Derechos de Mujeres (CDM) – Honduras
Organización Salvadoreña de Mujeres por la Paz (ORMUSA) – El Salvador
Actoras de Cambio – Guatemala
Association Marocaine pour les Droits des Femmes (AMDF) – Marroc
Mains Solidaires – Marroc
Unión of Palestinian Women Commitees (UPWC) -Palestine





– Olsson Fridh, Minister for International Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sweden:

– Eamon Gilmore, European Union Special Representative for Human Rights:

– UN Special Rapporteur Experts:


– Lynn Hastings, UN OCHA Humanitarian Coordinator, Lynn Hastings:


– Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights – Palestine:

– Peter Stano, European Commission Foreign Affairs Spokesperson:

– Mary Lawlord, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Women Human Rights Defenders:


– Clement Voule, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Association and Peaceful Assembly:

– Euromed Rights Network:


– International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and World Organization Against Torture (OMCT):



– Amnesty International:


– Human Rights Watch:


– Statement of repulsion from 21 organizations in Israel:

– Jewish Voice for Peace:

– Michael Sfard, legal expert in international human rights law:

– Gaby Lasky, Israeli parliamentarian and lawyer specializing in Human Rights:

– Eliav Lieblich and Adam Shinar, law professors at Tel Aviv University and Reichman University in Herziliya (Tel Aviv):

Reichman University in Herziliya (Tel Aviv):