Palestinian Human Rights Defenders

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The Right to Vote and to Be Elected in Local Elections

Two workshops under the title “The Right to Vote and to Be Elected in Local Elections” were conducted by MUSAWA and the Palestinian Human Rights Defenders (PHRDs) Network. One of the workshops was held at the headquarters of Al-Mustaqbal Charity in Al-Shati Camp, west of the city of Gaza, while the other one was held at Binaa’s Charity for Development in Jabalia, north of the Gaza Strip. 56 was the total number of attendees for both workshops together, 35 of whom were females.

The workshops aimed at spreading the culture of human rights in marginalized areas, introducing the community to the existence and importance of the PHRDs Network, spreading the Network’s goals and mission in order to broaden its memberships and encourage new members to join whether individuals or institutions, raising the legal awareness amongst community members, enabling marginalized groups of claiming their rights, and introducing them to the legal tools and mechanisms available for them to maintain these rights.

The workshops were facilitated by lawyers Omar Al-Razi, Noor Al-Deen Abu-Zir, and Israa’ Shihadeh; all of whom are members of the PHRDs Network. 

Several topics were discussed throughout the two workshops: the importance of the Palestinian community’s participation in the electoral process, the vitality of holding elections, the primary requirements that must be met to ensure democracy in the elections, the different types of electoral systems, the advantages of proportional representation, the definition of electoral registers, mechanisms for registry and candidature, the announcement of the elections through independent media channels (read, audible and/or visual) to ensure that it reaches all community members including people with disabilities.

The facilitators referred to the Palestinian Basic Law and its amendments, the Local Council Elections Law No. 10 of 2005 and its amendments, and the General Election Law No. 9 of 2005.

At the end of the workshops, participants recommended implementing more workshops of this kind in all Palestinian governorates; encouraging citizens to take part in the elections which are to be held in October, especially people with disabilities; and raising awareness on the importance of participating in political life in general and the elections in particular.

These workshops come as part of the project to empower Palestinian human rights defenders, conducted by MUSAWA both in the West Bank and Gaza, and supported by the European Union.