The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) describes itself as a “network of more than 80 human rights organizations from over 30 countries in the Euro-Mediterranean region.” It was formed in 1997 to “contribute to the protection and promotion of the human rights principles embodied in the Barcelona Declaration of November 1995.” Essentially a funding and development arm of the European Union (EU), EMHRN is heavily funded by the EU Commission and also receives money from the Swedish Agency for International Development Cooperation and the Ford Foundation.
Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in particular, EMHRN has exhibited a well-documented trend of bias against Israel. Its “country reports” — such as “Tightened Spaces for Human Rights – Palestinian NGO Work” in March 2004 and “Migrant Workers in Israel – A Contemporary Form of Slavery” in August 2003 — concentrate on criticisms of Israel. EMHRN has frequently condemned Israel for “acts of harassment, intimidation, threats, and deliberate attacks on human rights defenders in the OPT [Occupied Palestinian Territory].”
EMHRN has a “Working Group on Palestine, Israel, and Palestinians” whose stated objective is “to strengthen coordination of activities to promote respect for international human rights standards and international human rights norms as a foundation for peace in the region.” Its members include representatives of such NGOs as Al-Haq, the Arab Association for Human Rights, the International Commission of Jurists, and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights — all of which have demonstrated strong and consistent biases against Israel. Numerous EMHRN member groups label Palestinian acts of terrorism as “resistance,” and condemn them only when they cause Palestinian casualties. EMHRN denounced Israel’s March 22, 2004 targeted killing of Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.
EMHRN’s October 21, 2005 press release described the findings of a delegation it had sent to the Gaza Strip earlier that month. The mission was hosted by EMHRN member Palestine Center for Human Rights (PCHR). Co-sponsored by the Interchurch Organization for Development Co-operation (ICCO) in the Netherlands, the mission included representatives of the International Commission of Jurists (Sweden), the Bruno Kreisky Foundation (Austria), and EMHRN (Denmark). All of these organizations were part of the working group that contributed to the EMHRN report, “A Human Rights Review on the EU and Israel 2003-2004,” which accused Israel of “systematic human rights violations” and violation of “international humanitarian law.”
Following Israel’s 2005 withdrawal from Gaza, an EMHRN press release titled “The Gaza Strip is still occupied” attacked Israel for “separating families that live on different sides of borders” but omitted any mention of the continued Kassam rocket attacks emanating from the Gaza Strip. It implied that Israel was to blame for “the investment environment [being] highly risky.”
This profile is adapted, with permission, from the NGO Monitor_.