Carter Center Calls on the Palestinian Authority to Halt Crackdown on Fundamental Freedoms and Engage in Dialogue to Hold Elections

ATLANTA (Sept. 1, 2021) — The Carter Center calls on the Palestinian Authority to halt its crackdown on fundamental freedoms and engage in meaningful dialogue with political and civil society leaders to reschedule genuine and inclusive elections in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.

Human rights in the Palestinian territories have deteriorated significantly since the PA’s indefinite postponement of the general elections in April. According to the human rights group Lawyers for Justice, the PA has detained more than 120 Palestinians on charges that restrict the fundamental freedoms guaranteed under the Palestinian Basic Law and Palestine’s international human rights treaty commitments, including freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and political affiliation.

  • In May, PA security forces detained dozens of political opponents, including human rights defender Issa Amro, for criticizing the PA.
  • In June, Palestinian political activist Nizar Banat died when PA security forces raided his home in Hebron in southern West Bank. He was a sharp critic of the PA and a candidate on the Freedom and Dignity list for the postponed legislative elections that were scheduled for May 22.
  • The PA security forces also have detained dozens of rights activists, lawyers, and journalists to curb demonstrations calling for accountability for the death of Banat. Last week alone, the PA arrested 35 people, including civil society leaders, academics, and political leaders who were organizing a demonstration in the central West Bank city of Ramallah.

The PA has justified some of these detentions under the cybercrimes law, which human rights groups have consistently warned is being used to limit online freedom of expression. Other detainees were accused of organizing “illegal gatherings” and “stirring up sectarian strife.”

The Carter Center calls on the Palestinian Authority to refrain from any actions that undermine the fundamental freedoms of its citizens, including their rights of assembly and expression. Additionally, the PA should release the findings of its investigation into the cause of Banat’s death and bring those responsible to justice.

On July 15, The Carter Center issued a possible roadmap for holding Palestinian polls. The Center reiterates its call for the Palestinian Authority to engage in a comprehensive national dialogue to pave the way for elections and for Palestinian political leaders to advance preparations for local, parliamentary, and presidential elections as soon as possible.


Contact: In Atlanta, Soyia Ellison,
In Ramallah, Qais Asád,

The Carter Center
Waging Peace. Fighting Disease. Building Hope.

A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in over 80 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; and improving mental health care. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide.