Palestinian Human Rights Defenders

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MUSAWA Holds 8 Meetings for Palestinian Human Rights Defenders Network

Throughout September 2016, eight meetings in eight different areas (Ramallah, Jerusalem and Jericho; Salfeet and Nablus; Tulqarm and Qalqilya; Jenin and Tubas; Bethlehem and Hebron; Gaza and North Gaza; Gaza’s Middle Governorate; Khan Yunis and Rafah) were carried-out by MUSAWA in cooperation with the Palestinian Human Right Defenders Network. The meetings were attended by 76 male and female members (40 females and 36 males), who aimed at reaching an agreement on the mechanism by which members will implement the Network’s activities in the upcoming period, forging its internal regulations, and contributing to the expansion of the Coalition for Palestinian Human Rights Defenders Declaration (PHRDD).

The meetings addressed several issues: the PHRDs Network’s role in monitoring, documenting and following-up violations against human rights defenders whether inside or outside the context of the Network; the plan which will support the implementation of tasks; the mechanisms available for improving the coalition; the importance of preparing a code of conduct for the Network to serve as a clearly-established legal and ethical standard for working in the Network; choosing members for the trials monitoring unit; conducting field visits to courts and prisons after agreeing on a spokesperson to coordinate for the visits with the official authorities.

At the end, participants reached the conclusion that it is of paramount importance to keep monitoring and documenting violations against the Network members or others, whether individuals or institutions. They were also able to come up with mechanisms to develop and expand the coalition, and coordinate field visits to courts and prisons in Palestine’s different governorates. Moreover, they pointed out the importance of not only establishing a team that consists of PHRD members to monitor violations that occur in Palestinian courts against human rights defenders, but also continuing to conduct awareness workshops in marginalized areas. Furthermore, they suggested the following: holding a training session for the Network’s members, making a video that introduces the Network, making name tags to easily identify members when networking with other organizations, carrying-out mass activities in cooperation with other Civil Society Organizations, seeking an effective mechanism to increase the members’ commitment when it comes to attending the Network’s monthly meetings.

These meetings come as part of the Empowering Palestinian Human Rights Defenders project, implemented by MUSAWA in the West Bank and Gaza, and supported by the European Union.