Ref: 29/2021, Date: 07 March 2021: The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) On 05 March 2021, the Palestinian President issued a law by decree to postpone elections for syndicates and unions for 6 months from the date of its issuance. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) expresses its condemnation of the President’s insistence to continue the abuse of his constitutional powers to issue laws by decree only in extreme cases of necessity and stresses that the postponement of syndicate elections is a violation of public freedoms that is unacceptable and unjustified.

This law by decree comes within a series of laws issued by the Palestinian President that target public freedoms and the rule of law, as the President previously issued 3 laws by decree that undermined the independence of the judiciary. Also, the president issued a law by decree to restrict the right to form associations in a manner violating all of Palestine’s international obligations and voiding the meaning of rights and freedom.

PCHR emphasizes that the synchronization of syndicate and legislative elections does not constitute any problem; on the contrary, syndicate elections contribute to enriching the democratic experience and giving important indicators to it. Therefore, PCHR wonders about the real motives for the issuance of this law by decree, which cannot be justified in any way.

PCHR warns that the issuance of laws by decree by the Palestinian president contributes to poisoning the political atmosphere while preparations are being made to hold legislative and presidential elections at a very sensitive phase where Palestinians aspire to end the Palestinian division through elections. PCHR affirms that holding free and fair elections needs a positive environment that respects rights and freedoms and free of monopoly of decision making, particularly in terms of rights and freedoms.

PCHR stresses that the formation of syndicates, unions, and popular organizations is a constitutional right according to Article (26) Paragraph (2) of the Basic Law. Consequently, restrictions on this right may be imposed only on the conditions and grounds identified by the relevant international standards in Article (8)of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights binding to Palestine as a State Party since 2014. Also, PCHR emphasizes that the issuance of the law by decree to postpone syndicate elections is without merit; thus, its issuance is considered as a grave violation of Palestine’s international obligations and a violation of the Palestinian Basic Law.

PCHR affirms its total rejection of the systematic policy pursued by the Palestinian President in monopolizing decision making and imposing legal facts contrary to the public interest; PCHR demands the reversal of all laws by decree that undermine the rule of law and public freedoms, especially those related to the Palestinian judiciary and the right to form associations.

PCHR calls upon the Palestinian President to immediately reverse the decision to postpone the syndicate elections and to hold them on time.

PCHR urges all syndicates, unions, and popular organizations to take a clear and strong position regarding this blatant interference in syndicate elections to deter such infringement on their work, rights, and freedoms.