The UN and EU issued statements on Tuesday criticizing the Palestinian Authority for the “politically motivated” arrest of activists and “continued pressure” on people demonstrating in the territory.

Protests have been taking place in recent months, as activists demand justice for Nizar Banat, a critic of the Palestinian Authority, who died after security forces detained him earlier this year and subjected him to physical violence.

On August 21 and 22, dozens of activists who had been participating in these protests were detained by Palestinian Authority security forces in Ramallah, with several still in custody. 

On Tuesday, the UN Office for Human Rights declared that it is “deeply concerned” by the Palestinian Authority’s actions and the “continued pressure on those seeking to exercise their rights to freedom of expression and assembly” in the area. 

In a separate statement, the EU’s representative in the region expressed concern at “an increase in apparently politically motivated arrests by the Palestinian Authority,” firmly stating that “violence against peaceful human rights defenders, activists and protesters is unacceptable.”

While the remarks from the UN demanded the “immediate release without any charges” of the activists who were detained, the EU called on Palestinian officials to focus on “swiftly” concluding the investigation of Banat’s death and ensuring that “those responsible are held accountable.”

The Palestinian Authority has not yet publicly responded to the UN or EU statements but the detention of protesters comes after president of the Palestinian National Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, indefinitely postponed elections amid low approval ratings.

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