The Occupation of Palestine Transcends Palestinian Borders: Renowned Feminist and WHRD Dr. Meryem Abou Daka Placed under House Arrest!




17 October 2023

The Regional Coalition for Women Human Rights Defenders in SouthWest Asia and North Africa (also known as WHRDMENA) is outraged and appalled by the French Authorities’ outrageous  targeting of renowned feminist and WHRD Dr. Meryem Abou Daka, a prominent leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, member of the Palestinian National Council, and a progressive feminist activist, in Marseille on the morning of 16 October 2023. Dr. Meryem Abou Daka, age 71, was on a visit to France which began on October 6, before the Al-Aqsa Flood operation against the occupying forces began. She is currently under house arrest in France and faces deportation.

Dr. Abou Dakka had been touring France in response to an invitation from a Marseille collective and several associations including the AFPS, and had speaking engagements  in Paris, Lyon, Saint-Etienne, Metz, Martigues and Marseille where she was served with an ‘absolute emergency’ expulsion order issued two days previously by Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin. Moreover, her visa, valid until 24 November 2023, was withdrawn, and she is currently under house arrest at the downtown Marseille hotel from 10pm to 6am.  Dr. Abou Daka’s 50-day visa, issued by the French consulate in Jerusalem on August 7 and valid until November 24, was withdrawn under the  French Interior Minister’s  justification that Dr. Abou Daka’s membership in the secular leftist PFLP – “an organization on the European Union’s list subject to restrictive measures in the fight against terrorism“, was the premise on which the expulsion order rested.

Dr. Abou Daka was subject to this unjust and unprovoked targeting at the same time that she learned that she had lost 27 members of her family to the Israeli genocide and attempted ethnic cleansing taking place in Gaza. This politically motivated targeting of Dr. Abou Daka transcends the occupation in Palestine, to cross oceans, borders and warns of a witch hunt against Palestinian feminist voices intended to silence any truths spoken about the nature of the brutal colonial violence in Palestine, a continuation of an illegal occupation and system of Apartheid that has been ongoing since 1967.

The Regional Coalition for WHRDs in SWANA (WHRDMENA) calls on regional and international feminist and human rights movements and organizations to denounce Dr. Meryem Abou Daka’s initial arrest and subsequent placement under house arrest, and demands her immediate release, the guarantee of her freedom of movement, and her right to freedom of speech without reprisal, as well as her right to advocate for the liberation of Palestine and Palestinians.

WHRDMENA is deeply concerned about the increasing reports of criminalization of and reprisals against pro-Palestinian activists across Europe, and we call on European feminists, WHRDs, and human rights organizations to unequivocally condemn these grave threats to freedom of speech and assembly, and to work to protect Palestinian activists and feminists in Europe from these racially and politically motivated attacks.