Union of Well being Staff Committee closure could have ‘catastrophic penalties’ on Palestinian healthcare, group says.
Israel’s transfer to close down a key healthcare physique within the occupied territories could have “catastrophic penalties” for Palestinians in want of medical consideration, international rights group Amnesty Worldwide warned.
Israeli military forces raided the Palestinian Union of Well being Staff Committee (UHWC) headquarters in Ramallah on Wednesday, breaking down the door, confiscating computer systems and reminiscence drives, and issuing a army order forcing the workplace to shut for six months.
The UHWC runs hospitals and well being clinics for marginalised communities and has repeatedly been focused by Israeli forces, Amnesty stated.
Staff have confronted harassment and arrest for the well being suppliers’ alleged affiliation with the In style Entrance for the Liberation of Palestine, a political get together with an armed wing.
“Israel’s shutdown of its headquarters could have main penalties for the supply of important well being companies to hundreds of Palestinians, a programme for girls’s well being that was on the headquarters has now stopped,” Saleh Higazi, Amnesty’s deputy director for the Center East and North Africa, stated in a press release.
He stated “because the occupying energy” Israel had “a transparent obligation” underneath worldwide regulation to guard the rights of all Palestinians – together with their proper to healthcare.
“To date they’ve utterly did not fulfil this duty all through the worldwide pandemic, pursuing a discriminatory COVID-19 vaccination coverage,” Higazi stated.
“Israeli authorities should instantly rescind the shutdown order and put an finish to the harassment of well being staff.”
He stated the concentrating on of UHWC was a part of a wider assault by Israel towards Palestinian civil society organisations.
“As an alternative of criminalising organisations offering important well being companies, the Israeli authorities needs to be ending their institutionalised discrimination and systematic oppression of Palestinians,” Higazi stated.
Amnesty stated UHCW has been on the forefront of the COVID-19 response within the occupied Palestinian Territories, elevating consciousness, providing public well being steerage, and offering medical care to COVID-19 sufferers in its well being amenities, in addition to to hard-to-reach communities by cell clinics.
Greater than 310,000 Palestinians have contracted COVID-19 and the virus has killed 3,500 of them.
The organisation additionally leads native advocacy efforts to enhance the Palestinian well being system.
Amnesty stated this was not the primary time that UHWC and its employees have been focused by Israeli forces. Its Jerusalem workplace was shut down by Israeli authorities in 2015.
Its Ramallah workplace, which was shut down on Wednesday, was beforehand raided in October 2019 – when its finance director was arrested. In March two different members of employees had been arrested.