Palestinian Human Rights Defenders

print this page

About Us


MUSAWA is an independent civil society Organization established in March 2002 by lawyers, former judges, and human rights advocates. MUSAWA is devoted to guaranteeing the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession through: monitoring and documenting violations; and by treating the social, cultural, economic, and political obstacles that hinder the proper implementation of the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession.

Musawa is awarded a grand by the European Union for the implementation of the action entitled: "Empowering Palestinian Human Rights Defenders."

Brief description of the project:

The overall objective of this action is to enhance the respect and the promotion of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in Palestine and to empower Palestinian Human Rights Defenders (hereinafter HRDs). Under this general goal four specific objectives have been identified:

  1. Create a new and more qualified class of HRDs by building their legal capacities and raising their knowledge and technical skills. The action will aim at providing HRDs with a social theoretical and practical knowledge in HR.
  2. Improve the monitoring system in compliance with international standards and enhance the legal protection of HRDs by creating a permanent monitoring system for the violations of HRDs' rights and providing free legal aid to those HRDs who have been victims of violations.
  3. Improve HRDs' connection among each other, local communities as well as the international community by creating a HRDs platform to collect needs and complaints of the population and to convey them into the correct channels.
  4. Improve public opinion and knowledge about the role and the importance of the HRDs in Palestine by raising awareness amongst Palestinians and involving the immediate HRDs communities in a system of protection and monitoring.


Activities under specific objective 1:

  1. Establishment of a HRDs Course Program. A HRDs course will be established , in order to provide professional education to Palestinian HRDs. The course, planned for six months period, will be held in three different locations in WB and Gaza and it will be structured in three main sections: the first will be dedicated to the study of the main international and national legislations; the second to more practical aspects (advocacy/lobbying strategies etc.). The final section will see the direct involvement of the participants, who will be required to put into practice the knowledge acquired during the course, preparing the local training courses that they are to hold at the end of the course.
  2. Draft of a manual for Palestinian HRDs. Experts will be asked to draft a useful manual for HRDs, which contains in a practical form the most relevant information for Palestinian HRDs.
  3. Organization of ad hoc lectures on specific themes. During the development of the course, ad hoc lectures will be held in order to deepen the knowledge of specific themes.
  4. Creation of a website of the HRDs Program. In order to facilitate the collection and the access to the didactic material, a website will be created.

Activities under specific objective 2:

  1. Foundation of a HRDs Legal Clinic located at Musawa. Musawa will offer its legal expertise to provide free consultancy to those HRDs who have been victims of violations. In addition, approximately 20 cases will be selected to be adopted, free of charge, in order to restore justice.
  2. Establishment  of a permanent monitoring group of HRDs' rights. A permanent monitoring system for the violations of HRDs' rights will be located at Musawa and will work by collecting complaints from the broader HRDs network. In addition, a trial monitoring unit specialized in court proceedings involving HRDs will be set up and its findings will be published on a quarterly basis.
  3. Draft and official submission of a "Palestinian Human Rights Defenders Declaration of Rights" (PHRDD). Musawa will work on the preparation of a new legal tool for the protection of HRDs: a declaration of the fundamental rights of the Palestinian HRDs will be submitted to the attention of the decision makers.

Activities under specific objective 3:

  1. Descriptive and comparative study on the HRDs in Palestine. Two studies will be delegated to experts and academics in order to provide respectively an assessment of weaknesses and characteristics of local HRDs and a comparison with similar realities on a regional basis. The results of these studies will be published and distributed.
  2.  Mapping and classification of HRDs in Palestine. A working group will be established with the objective of collecting data regarding the presence and distribution of HRDs in Palestine and then classifying them according to specific criteria, such as professional/legal status of the defender, specific field of work and typology of activities carried out.
  3. Establishment of a network of HRDs. A grassroots network will unite several local associations, informal groups and NGOs, spread across the whole territory. The participant to the HRDs Course will be required to commit in the creation and support of this network, as well as in the draft of a common statute. The network will be structured in hubs (one for each district) and cluster (5 for each hub). Hub and clusters will work as a reference point for the local community in monitoring the territory and will be coordinated by Musawa.

Activities under specific objective 4:

  1. Organization of ToT and local workshops. The participation to the HRDs Course Program will be required to organize three-days ToT addressed to their immediate communities (hubs), including co-workers and volunteers, who in turn will be responsible for holding brief workshops directed to the general public (clusters). In this way, it will be guaranteed that the knowledge acquired during the course will be transmitted and made available to the society.
  2. Draft of booklets on HRDs. Brief and practical booklets will be prepared to be distributed during the workshops to the local population. They will include practical information in a simple language, in order to reach different levels of the society.
  3. Radio and TV programs. Radio and TV programs will be conducted in order to sensitize the general public about the role of HRDs.
  4. Final conference. An international conference will be held in order to publicize the results achieved by the program.