In light of increasing violations of Palestinian digital rights by Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Hamas and tech companies, a group of Palestinian civil society organizations announced on Wednesday 4/12/2019, the launch of the Palestinian Digital Rights Coalition (PDRC), initiated by 7amleh – The Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media. The PDRC is focused on strengthening the human rights advocacy work of Palestinian organizations and enhancing coordination between members to protect and obtain Palestinian digital rights in line with human rights norms.

The coalition is comprised of a wide group of human rights, digital rights and media organizations including : 7amleh,  Alhaq , Amnesty International, Addameer, Al Mezan, Adalah, Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy, Sada Social, and Hurriyat. Other organizations are expected to join the coalition in the future.

Nadim Nashif, the Executive Director of 7amleh, stated that the primary goal is to coordinate digital rights’ work in Palestine, particularly during a time with many violations to Palestinian digital rights, and to document and advocate for the digital rights’ violations through their networks at the local, regional and international levels.

Dr. Issam Abdeen, the legal advisor of Al Haq pointed out that one of the coalition’s current local priorities is advocating for the Cybercrimes Law to be amended to adhere to human rights norms, standards and best practices, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, including the right to freedom of expression article (19) and the right to privacy article (17).

Following the passing of “Countering the use of information and communications technologies for criminal purposes” (A/C.3/74/L.11/Rev.1) at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) Third Committee in December, the coalition will advocate for the working group established to develop a Cyber Crimes Treaty to ensure that the treaty is in line with human rights norms and does not criminalize internet freedoms, as local and international civil society organizations have warned.

Palestinian digital rights are an extenstion to our human rights in the digital sphere constituting of the right to freedom of expression, right to access information, right to privacy, right to the  assembly and organization through the internet and its accessibility, which are basic rights ensured under the international law, hence we must work towards the promotion and protection of these rights, requiring collective and integrative efforts on the local, regional and international levels. From this point the coalition openly invites any willing and interested organizations in digital rights in Palestine to join the coalition.