Palestinian Human Rights Defenders

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Local Elections and Democracy

A workshop titled “Local Elections and Democracy” was carried-out by MUSAWA and the Palestinian Human Rights Defenders (PHRDs) Network. The workshop was held at MUSAWA’s Gaza Office, located in Al-Jala’ Tower, and it was attended by a number of lawyers in addition to 14 members from the PHRDs Network’s monitoring group, 8 of whom were women.

At the beginning of the workshop, Legal Researcher Mohammad Abu-Hashem presented an introduction to the right to political participation and its importance; the elections as one of its most prominent tools; and the importance of maintaining the integrity, transparency and periodicity of the elections so that citizens would have the right to political participation without any discrimination or obstruction, as all of the aforementioned is considered a characteristic of democratic systems. Furthermore, he referred to the regulating provisions for the right to political participation, particularly Article 26 of the Basic Law; the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; and the laws on local and public elections. Mr. Hashem also stressed that it falls under the governing authority’s responsibilities to provide the right to political participation for all of its citizens as per Articles 2-5-26 of the Basic Law; the Charitable Associations and Community Organizations Law No. (1) Of 2000; the Civil Service Law No. (4) Of 1998; and the Public Assemblies Law No. (12) Of 1998.

At the end of the workshop, the participants recommended that the necessary actions and measures be taken to enable women of exercising their right to political participation, intensify efforts aimed at strengthening the political participation of young people, and guarantee the citizens’ right to express their opinions freely and criticize the performance of authorities without any obstruction.

This workshop comes as part of a project to empower Palestinian human rights defenders, conducted by MYSAWA in both the West Bank and Gaza, with the support of the European Union.