In an Urgent Appeal to the United Nations, Maat Condemns the Israeli Forces Killing of Palestinian-American Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh
Okeil: Occupation authorities must not go unpunished for the murder of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh
Today, May 11, 2022, Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights sent an urgent appeal to the special procedures of the United Nations, especially the Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967and the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, condemning the brutal killing of Al Jazeera Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh at the hands the Israeli occupation forces.
While journalist Abu Akleh was shot dead by Israeli troops during an Israeli raid on West Bank, another journalist Ali Al Samudi was also shot in the back and was taken to hospital. The occupation forces attacked the journalists with live bullets while covering the Israeli occupation forces storming of Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank, although journalists were present far from the clashes and wearing safety vests.
Maat expressed its deep concern over the news reported from the occupied territories about the crimes committed by the Israeli government against journalists in the occupied territories. Maat describes the assassination of journalists in the month of press freedom as an extension of the criminal acts committed by the occupation authority against journalists over the past years, under the eyes of the world, which can be described as international silence and complicity.
Maat had issued a report on the sidelines of the World Press Freedom Day observed on May 3, in which it monitored more than 850 violations against journalists in the occupied Palestinian territories, resulting in the killing and injury of more than 48 journalists since 2000. More than 16 journalists remain suffering behind bars in Israel’s prisons, and the international community must pressure Israel to stop these crimes.
Maat strongly condemns Israeli’s ongoing attempts to harass Palestinian journalists and suppress media coverage of events from the Palestinian side during the recent war, given its aim to "add legitimacy and credibility to the Israeli narrative in violation of all international laws and undermining the people's right to know the truth." Maat points out that Israel's ranking on the press freedom index, which was issued recently, does not really comply with the violations committed by the occupation authorities against whoever speaks critically of or attempts to cover and document the heinous crimes of the occupation authorities.
In this context, Ayman Okeil, the international human rights expert and president of Maat, said that the muzzling practices of the occupation authorities against the media must be immediately stopped. Okeil also added that in the month which celebrates press freedom, the whole world must take a clear position towards these Israeli crimes, which represent a flagrant violation of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, guaranteed by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Okeil also calls on the Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression to visit the occupied territories to see Israel’s ongoing violations against journalists and media professionals in the occupied territories, which include detention and targeting of journalists and media headquarters, and to allow the whole world, especially the Human Rights Council and the United Nations see the real grim picture of Israel. Okeil demands the United Nations Human Rights Council to appoint a special mandate to protect journalists, in order to stop all attempts of occupation authorities to distort the truth.