Freedom of the Press Suppressed

The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the UN General Assembly December 10, 1948.  It came about in the aftermath of World War 2, and was the result of nations states coming together with the common purpose of affirming human rights for the entire human family, while seeking to avoid the atrocities of war.  The drafting committee included Canadian John Humphrey, and was chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt. The document has been ratified by every country in the world and translated into 337 languages.  It has been foundational for other declarations and treaties that have been agreed since then.  As such, it is one of the most important documents of the 20th century.

The preamble to the document reads:

“Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,

Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,

Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,

Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.”

(UN Declaration of Human Rights, found at www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/)

The Declaration includes 30 articles, covering a wide range of human rights.

Article 19 affirms freedom of expression as a fundamental human right.  It reads “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any  media and regardless of frontiers.”

(UN Declaration of Human Rights, found at www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/)

Respect for the freedom of the press and the rights of the residents of Hebron to “seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media” was severely compromised early Tuesday morning, when the Israeli forces entered H1, the fully controlled Palestinian portion of the city of Hebron, at 2:30am ,to raid the offices of radio station FM 92.7, HR.PS.  Carrying a military order that read, in part (and translated from Hebrew) “the military commander orders to close the station because it is necessary for public order, for correct governance and for the security of the IDF forces.”  According to the order, the station is to cease operation for a period of 6 months.  Not only did the IDF close the station, they inflicted serious damage to the office and its equipment.

Radio station FM 92.7 HR.PS

Radio station FM 92.7 HR.PS, now off air as a result of the raid on their offices early Tuesday morning.

one of several cabinets vandalized in the raid

                                               one of several cabinets vandalized in the raid

equipment was torn off the walls

                                                        equipment was torn off the walls

cords, connectors, etc left in a heap on the floor

                                                    cords, connectors, etc damaged in the raid

a damaged office

                                  one of the damaged offices at radio station FM 92.7 HR.PS

Freedom of the press is a foundational human right.  As the preamble to the UN Declaration of Human Rights so clearly states, “every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive… to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.”  Palestinians, as a people under the jurisdiction of Israel (as a result of the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine) are as deserving of this right as the citizens of the 192 countries that have signed the Declaration.

Peace, Salaam, Shalom,

Jan

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3 responses

  1. What an uphill battle must be so very disheartening for all – such outrageous lengths to cut the palestinians off from each other and from having their messages heard. Cannot imagine what would happen if something like this were to happen in Canada what the different response would be.

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