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COP28 Activists Say Palestine Solidarity Protests Calling for Ceasefire Face Severe Restrictions

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At COP28 in Dubai, protests in solidarity with Palestine have faced severe restrictions. Asad Rehman, the lead spokesperson for the Climate Justice Coalition, joined with human rights groups at an unofficial media briefing to explain how climate summit officials have threatened to debadge participants for even wearing Palestinian colors or sporting visual depictions calling for a ceasefire. “This is probably the most restrictive we’ve seen,” Rehman said. “Everything we have tried to do has been within the U.N. rules, … but the rules are being changed on a day-by-day basis.”

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org. I’m Amy Goodman. Meanwhile, here at COP28 in Dubai, protests in solidarity with Palestine have faced severe restrictions. Earlier today, Asad Rehman, the lead spokesperson for the Climate Justice Coalition, joined with other leaders of human rights groups in a media huddle to talk at an unofficial media briefing.

ASAD REHMAN: There’s a deep irony that we have the secretary-general invoking Article 99 of the U.N. Charter, and we still — and in this U.N. space, where you have countless U.N. institutions calling for a ceasefire, even uttering the word “ceasefire” has been something that we were blocked from saying. And it has taken us a week of negotiating before we were allowed to say that sentence in there. But still today, any visual depictions of that, including badges, etc., I mean, people have been told they are not allowed to wear that. People have been told they will be debadged if they don’t take off those badges or take off keffiyehs or take off these lanyards.

I have to say, as some — both of us, who have been involved in this U.N. space for many, many years, this is probably the most restrictive we’ve seen, way more restrictive than Egypt last year. And deep irony there, where we were promised that our rights as civil society would be protected here.

And everything we have tried to do has been within the U.N. rules. Everything. We are well versed in the U.N. rules about what is acceptable and not acceptable. But the rules are being changed on a day-by-day basis. They’re being interpreted by somebody else to determine what is acceptable and not acceptable. We were told that was called by the COP presidency. We went and saw the COP presidency, and the COP presidency said, both privately and then publicly, it is not the COP28 presidency which is pushing for these restrictions.

Then, the question is: Who is pressuring the U.N. and the U.N. institution and U.N. agency that we are not allowed to raise what is a question that is, of course, the uppermost in everybody’s minds, both what’s taking place in Gaza, the fact that international law and humanitarian law lies in shreds, and what that implication means for us as organizations deeply committed to both the multilateral space and also, of course, international law?

AMY GOODMAN: Asad Rehman, the lead spokesperson for the Climate Justice Coalition, speaking earlier today here at COP28 in Dubai.

Coming up, an exclusive interview. We speak to Indigenous climate activist Jacob Johns. He was shot in the chest two months ago in New Mexico by a gunman wearing a red MAGA hat. We’ll speak to the Indigenous environmental activist. Stay with us.

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