Thursday, 1 August 2019
Statements by Members
Shakir, Mr Omar
As deputy chair of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights, I've had much to do with Human Rights Watch. They've brought to my attention the fact that they've been monitoring Israel and the occupied territories for 30 years. But now there's an upcoming Israeli Supreme Court hearing against Omar Shakir, who is Human Rights Watch's Israel and Palestine Director. There is a suggestion that he is to be deported, basically. Amnesty International, a group of former Israeli ambassadors and other international bodies have raised concerns about deporting someone who is monitoring and watching to make sure that human rights are not being infringed upon in Israel.
I'm not going to make a judgement on the individual case—if people want to have a look at Omar's case, they can Google it and look at the Washington Post and others that have done op-eds on this—but I would suggest that it's a dangerous precedent for a healthy democracy like Israel. Hopefully, Australian diplomats will be there attending the hearing, which will be opening to the public. It would be a dangerous precedent if a good, strong democracy like Israel were to deport someone for just monitoring what was going on in Israel and the occupied territories—something that Human Rights Watch has been doing for 30 years.