PCHR 2016 Annual Report
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) has published its annual report for the year of 2016. A fully detailed PDF version of the report can be downloaded by clicking here.
The Centre is an independent Palestinian human rights organization (registered as a non-profit Ltd. Company)
based in Gaza City. The Centre enjoys Consultative Status with the ECOSOC of the United Nation. It is an
affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists-Geneva; the International Federation for Human Rights
(FIDH) – Pairs; member of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network – Copenhagen; member of the
International Legal Assistance Consortium (ILAC) – Stockholm; member of the Arab Organization for Human
Rights – Cairo; and member of the World Coalition against the Death Penalty – Rome. It is a recipient of the
1996 French Republic Award on Human Rights, the 2002 Bruno Kreisky Award for Outstanding Achievements
in the Area of Human Rights and the 2003 International Service Human Rights Award (UNAIS).
The Centre was established in 1995 by a group of Palestinian lawyers and human rights activists in order to:
• Protect human rights and promote the rule of law in accordance with international standards.
• Create and develop democratic institutions and an active civil society, while promoting
democratic culture within Palestinian society.
• Support all the efforts aimed at enabling the Palestinian people to exercise its inalienable
rights in regard to self-determination and independence in accordance with international law
and UN resolutions.
The work of the Centre is conducted through documentation and investigation of human rights violations,
provision of legal aid and counseling for both individuals and groups, and preparation of research articles
relevant to such issues as the human rights situation and the rule of law. The Centre also provides comments
on Palestinian Draft Laws and urges the adoption of legislation that incorporates international human rights
standards and basic democratic principles. To achieve its goals, the Centre has recruited a committed staff of
well-known human rights lawyers and activists.
The Philosophy of the Centre’s Work
The Centre determined after a thorough legal assessment of the peace accords signed by the PLO and
the Israeli government that the occupation would continue both physically and legally. According to
these agreements, Israel has redeployed its forces inside the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, while Israeli
settlements and military installations maintain their presence in Palestinian territory. The major legal
aspects of the Israeli occupation remain in place. Israeli military orders that safeguard Israeli control over
the Palestinian people and their land remain valid in accordance with the peace agreement. The Israeli
military court is still functioning and to this day thousands of Palestinians languish in Israeli prisons. The
essential elements of the Palestinian issue remain unresolved – the right to self-determination, the right to
an independent Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem, the right to return for Palestinian refugees,
and the right to remove illegal Israeli settlements from the Occupied Territories. All of these constitute basic
unfulfilled rights of the Palestinian people. In light of this wide-ranging disregard for Palestinian rights, the
Centre concludes it must continue its work to protect Palestinian human rights from ongoing violations by
the Israeli government and courts.
The peace accords and the major political changes resulting from the agreement, including the establishment
of the Palestinian National Authority in part of the Occupied Territories, has led to a vital and active
role for the Centre in protecting civil and political rights and in promoting the development of democratic
institutions, an active civil society, and a democratic legal system in Palestine.
The Centre is composed of specialized working units which carry out their activities in an autonomous but
1. Fieldwork Unit
The fieldwork is considered the basic activity of the Centre. Well-trained field workers located in
different areas of the Gaza Strip obtain accurate and documented legal information on human rights
violations in the Gaza Strip. They gather information in the field from victims and witnesses of human rights violations. The information is received by the coordinator of the unit and other researchers to
verify accuracy. Through the field workers’ presence in the field the Centre has been able to maintain
close contacts with the community. In this way, the community is able to influence the work of the
Centre and the Centre is able to meet the community’s interests and demands.
2. Legal Unit
This unit is composed primarily of a team of lawyers who give free legal aid and counseling to individuals
and groups. The unit also carries out legal intervention with concerned bodies and makes legal representations
before courts in cases that involve broad principles of human rights that affect not just the
individual before the court but the community as a whole. Furthermore, the unit attempts to support
the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law.
3. Democratic Development Unit (DDU)
This unit specializes in the promotion of democracy and the promotion of civil society and the rule
of law. The unit’s team carries out research and organizes workshops and seminars to discuss issues
on human rights and democracy. The unit’s team also prepares comments on draft laws prepared by
the Palestinian Authority in an effort to influence the decision-making process and the adoption of
democratic laws. The unit has been also involved in providing training on human rights and democracy
for youth groups.
4. Economic and Social Rights Unit
This unit seeks to ensure the importance of economic and social rights through research and study.
Such work is particularly important because it tends to be neglected, to some extent, by other human
rights organizations. To achieve its goals the unit conducts studies, workshops, and seminars that focus
attention on economic and social rights in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The unit seeks to develop
recommendations and standards for each of these rights to be fulfilled in the Palestinian situation.
Moreover, the unit reviews and assesses the legislation and draft laws pertaining to these rights
adopted by the Palestinian Authority in an effort to secure legislation that is in harmony with international
standards. The unit further seeks to provide an informative training base for governmental
and non-governmental personnel who are empowered to set plans and implement programs and
policies relevant to these rights. The goal of such training is to help bring economic and social rights
into alignment with the standards accepted internationally and to ensure the maximum degree of
implementation of these rights.
5. Women Rights Unit
This Unit was established as a pilot project in May of 1997 for one year, renewable upon assessment of
its accomplishments. The initial project was established after a thorough and comprehensive study of
the conditions of Palestinian women and the work of women’s institutions in the Gaza Strip. The Unit
aims to provide legal aid for women and women’s organizations. Intervention on behalf of women in
Shari’a courts is included in its mandate. The Unit further aims to raise awareness of women’s rights
established by international human rights conventions and to raise the awareness of Palestinian
women in regard to their rights under local law. Finally, the Unit is carrying out studies on Palestinian
women and the law, while supporting the amendment of local laws inconsistent with women’s rights.
6. The Training Unit
The Training Unit is a main instrument in PCHR’s work in disseminating and developing a human rights
culture, and promoting democratic concepts in the local community with all its various segments. The
Unit organizes and holds training courses and workshops in order to develop theoretical knowledge
and provide professional skills that can contribute to a real change in the behavior of the society,
which in turn can promote respect for, and protection of human rights and participation in community
building. The target groups of the training courses and workshops are particularly the youth, including
university students, activists of political parties, lawyers, media, union members, and other civil society
7. The Library
The Centre has established a specialized legal library in subjects related to local and international law,
human rights, and democracy. The library includes books and periodicals in both Arabic and English and
includes all Palestinian laws and Israeli military orders. Documents pertaining to laws of neighboring
Arab countries are also available. Furthermore, the library includes a variety of books and periodicals
detailing the Palestinian question and the Arab-Israeli conflict. The library is open for the free use of
researchers, academics, and students.
Funding of the Centre
The Centre is funded by the generous contributions of a number of international non-governmental organizations
in the fields of human rights, democracy, and social justice and a number of Governments
that has friendly relationships with the Palestinian people. PCHR highly appreciates the contributions of
funding organizations, especially:
» Oxfam Novib » Al-Quds Association Malaga-Spain
» Open Society Institute – U.S.A » Trócaire – Ireland
» Christian Aid – UK » CARE International West Bank and Gaza
» Dan Church Aid – Denmark » Medical Aid for Palestine (MAP) – UK
» Grassroots International – U.S.A » The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)
» European Commission » Royal Danish Representative Office
» Representative Office of Norway » Austrian Representative Office
» Irish Aid » Swiss Development and Cooperation Agency
» Kvinna Till Kvinna – Sweden
Dr. Riad Al-Zanoun Ms. Nadia Abu Nahla Mr. Hashem Al-Thalathini Mr. Issa Saba Mr. Raji Sourani
Director General: Raji Sourani
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights is an independent legal body dedicated to the protection
of human rights, the promotion of the rule of law, and the upholding of democratic principles in
the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). Most of the Centre’s activities and interests concentrate on
the Gaza Strip due to the restriction on movement between the West Bank and Gaza Strip imposed
by the Israeli government and its military apparatus.
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, Gaza City:
29 Omar El Mukhtar Street, Near Amal Hotel, PO Box 1328
Tel/Fax (972) 8 2824-776 / (972) 82825-893
Khan Yunis Branch:
El Amal Street, Branch of Jamal Abdul-Nasser Street, near the
College of Education
Tel/Fax: (972) 8 2061-025/ (972) 8 2061-035
Izzidin Building, Main Street, Near Abu Qamar Fuel Satiation,
Jabalya Refugee Camp
Tel/Fax: (972) 8 2456336/ (972) 8 2456335
West Bank Office – Ramallah:
Al Beira, Nublus Road
Tel: 02-2406697 Tel/fax: 02-2406698
Search IMEMC: “PCHR”
Labour’s Israel lobby plans to relaunch campaign against Corbyn
Corbyn gained 30 seats for Labour despite media predictions he could lose as many as 80.
In so doing, Corbyn denied Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May her majority – a triumph for Labour relative to the consensus that the party was heading for disaster.
Smith’s line summed up the general attitude of Corbyn’s critics in the Parliamentary Labour Party.
But in the wake of last week’s unexpected electoral gains, once-critical Labour lawmakers and political commentators have lined up to eat some of the same humble pie as Smith. In a gesture of reconciliation, Corbyn brought Smith back into the Shadow Cabinet this week.
Some hardliners, however, have rejected Corbyn’s outstretched hand – none more so than the party’s internal Israel lobby.
Writing in the right-wing Jewish Chronicle on Wednesday, Labour Friends of Israel chair Joan Ryan demanded that Corbyn cut ties with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign to prove Labour is a “credible party of government.”
Ryan’s demands are extraordinary, especially since she used the general election campaign to bad-mouth her own party and its leader.
The PSC responded to Ryan, saying that “our values are those of principled respect for the human rights of everyone – Palestinian and Israeli – as well as international law.”
“We know that these are the values to which Jeremy Corbyn subscribes,” the group added. “That is why we are proud to have him as a patron.”
Ryan also slammed Corbyn as having “long-standing involvement with anti-Israel activism” and called for him to atone by holding talks with Israel’s Labor Party – a racist organization which has recently been in talks to join the hard-right government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
She also threatened to revive yet again the anti-Semitism witch hunt which engulfed Labour last year, when dozens of members were suspended without due process, often based on grossly exagerated or entirely fabicated charges. [Editor’s note: See related article.]
Ryan herself was caught personally engaging in concocting false anti-Semitism charges against a party member who questioned Labour Friends of Israel’s position on Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law.
Yet in her Jewish Chronicle article, Ryan demanded that Corbyn “address adequately the problem of anti-Zionist anti-Semitism within Labour’s ranks.”
Ryan ran a defeatist election campaign, which amounted to sabotage of the Labour leader’s chances of entering 10 Downing Street as prime minister.
“Many” local people “tell me they have more confidence in Theresa May as prime minister than they would have in Jeremy Corbyn,” she wrote in a letter to voters in her district.
Despite her attacks on Corbyn, Ryan, like dozens of other Labour lawmakers who had worked against him, was re-elected on the coattails of his popular manifesto.
Yet anonymous “figures” and “sources” have continued to denounce Corbyn to The Jewish Chronicleand other right-wing media this week.
The Jewish Chronicle quoted a “senior pro-Israel Labour” source explaining that the tactic used by Ryan of talking down the party’s chances had been part of a broader pro-Israel strategy.
“I told people Corbyn absolutely would not win and they could vote Labour,” the source said. “We managed to get people who hate Corbyn to vote for Corbyn’s Labour Party.”
“Bang on his door”
But these pro-Israel elements are evidently shocked and disappointed that under Corbyn’s leadership the party did too well at the ballot box.
The source indicated that the pro-Israel forces would continue to undermine Corbyn just as the Labour Party is more confident than it has been in years.
“Communal groups” – a reference to pro-Israel organizations that claim to speak on behalf of the Jewish community – “will have to do what they did before and either ignore him [Corbyn] or work around him,” the source said.
The source also predicted that pro-Israel lawmakers will “be happier to bang on his door now – about anti-Semitism or Israel.”
After the election, she told the Jewish News that “there are elements of anti-Semitism in the party that have not been dealt with properly.”
She vowed the she, along with Labour Friends of Israel leader Ryan and fellow member Wes Streeting “will stand up … we can’t go on like this.”
Blurring the line
Failed Labour parliamentary candidate Jeremy Newmark, a veteran leader in the UK’s Israel lobby, wrote in The Times of Israel on Wednesday that after the election, “many things remain unchanged” and “we still need to turn a corner regarding anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.”
Newmark called for the Chakrabarti report to be “revisited,” despite the fact that the Jewish Labour Movement, the internal party pro-Israel group that he heads, had initially welcomed it last year as “sensible and firm.”
Newmark also called for a mooted Labour Party rule book change put forward by his pro-Israel group to again be pushed at the party conference in September.
The change would “recognize that it is not acceptable to use Zionism as a term of abuse” – potentially making criticism of the Israeli state’s official ideology an infraction punishable by expulsion from Labour.
The rule change would also apply to Zionism a definition of a racist incident “which places particular value upon the perception of the victim/victim group.” In other words, a concept developed to protect vulnerable groups from bigotry would be co-opted to protect Israel from criticism by giving Israel’s apologists the right to determine which criticisms of Israel they deem “anti-Semitic.”
If adopted, such a rule would further conflate anti-Semitic bigotry against Jews, on the one hand, with anti-Zionism – opposition to Israel’s exclusivist ideology that discriminates against Palestinians – on the other.
Blurring the line between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism has been a key objective of Israel and its surrogates.
New-old lines of attack
Newmark also revealed the lines of attack the Israel lobby will use against Corbyn. “The immediate agenda is clear,” he wrote, calling for two prominent Labour critics of Israel to be expelled: former London mayor Ken Livingstone and Jewish anti-racism activist Jackie Walker.
None of the smears used by hostile media and right-wing Labour lawmakers last year seemed to work.
Even the false and grossly exaggerated charges of anti-Semitism had their limits.
But bereft of ideas to stop Corbyn eventually entering Number 10 – as now looks increasingly plausible – Israel’s allies in the Labour Party appear determined to bring this manufactured crisis back.
Originally published by Electronic Intifada.