The minimisation of administration and maximisation of programme work is the objective of the Central Services & Administration Unit. Although it functions as one unit, its work is interwoven with that of all other units in the Centre. This system of organisation provides a method for maintaining information in a way that is easily accessible to all staff members.
Fieldwork is the basic activity of the Centre. Well-trained fieldworkers located in different areas of the Gaza Strip obtain accurate and documented information on human rights violations in the Gaza Strip from victims and witnesses of human rights violations. The information is received by the coordinator of the unit and other researchers to verify its accuracy. Through the fieldworkers’ presence, 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 better able to meet the community’s interests and demands.
The Legal Unit is composed of a team of lawyers who give free legal aid and counsel to individuals and groups, especially Palestinian prisoners in Israeli or PNA custody. 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 Legal Unit attempts to support the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law.
The Democratic Development Unit specialises in the promotion of democracy and the promotion of civil society and the rule of law. The unit’s team carries out research and organises workshops and seminars to discuss issues relating to 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.
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 organisations. 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.
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.
PCHR has been engaged in work to educate the general public about democracy and human rights issues and providing specialised training in these areas. PCHR believes that if individuals at a grassroots level, as well as civil society at large, understand their democratic and human rights and are empowered to demand that their rights be met, then greater pressure will be put on government officials to guarantee that these rights are not violated.
PCHR has a busy International Unit consisting of experts on international law, fundraising, advocacy and the PCHR interns. The Unit supports other Units of the Centre in carrying out their work as well as producing English language reports, position papers and press releases. Staff in the Unit are often involved in conducting field-visits as part of their advocacy programme or field-research as part of the research programme and are involved in building relationships between Palestinian, Israeli and international NGOs who work on human rights issues. The International Unit also produces interventions to international bodies – including the UN human rights mechanisms.