Ref: 24/2012


On Wednesday, 29 February 2012, the Palestinian
Center for Human Rights (PCHR) received in its head office in Gaza City Ms.
Natalie Kohli, Counselor and Deputy of Mission of the Embassy of Switzerland,
and Mr. Gilles Cerutti, Human and International Humanitarian Law Advisor in the
Representative Office of Switzerland to the Palestinian National Authority


The visitors met with Mr. Hamdi Shaqqura, PCHR
Deputy Director for Program Affairs, who briefed the visitors on the
deteriorating human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory due
to continued Israeli violations against Palestinian civilians. 


Shaqqura focused on the importance of the
status of Switzerland as the depository of the Geneva Convention of 1949,
considering it a legal and moral resource that must be employed, especially at
the level of inviting the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention to
convene a conference to ensure taking necessary steps to confront the flagrant
Israeli challenge of the international humanitarian law, especially the Fourth
Geneva Convention.  He stressed that the
demand to invite the High Contracting Parties to convene a conference has
become more important, especially following the report of the UN Fact-Fining
Mission on Gaza Conflict (the Goldstone Report), whose recommendations included
a call for inviting the High Contacting Parties to convene a conference to
address the human rights situation. 


Additionally, Shaqqura briefed the visitors on
PCHR’s activities, particularly monitoring and documentation of human rights
violations and legal representation and consultation for victims to ensure
remedy for them.


On Tuesday, 28 February 2012, Shaqqura met with
Ms. Birgitta Tazelaar, Head of Mission of the Representative Officer of the
Kingdom of Netherlands to the PNA, and Martijin Lucassen, Policy Advisor –
Economic Affairs in the Representative Office. 


The meeting discussed the human rights
situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, focusing on the closure
imposed on the Gaza Strip, and Israeli settlement activities in the West
Bank.  Shaqqura called on Europe and the
Kingdom of Netherlands to intervene to stop Israeli violations of international
humanitarian law and human rights standards. 


At another level, the meeting discussed efforts
the issue of Palestinian reconciliation, and Shaqqura highlighted the difficulties
facing efforts to achieve it, which have obstructed the formation of a
government and restoration of the dignity of the PNA institutions.   He further emphasized that Israel is the
only party that benefits from the ongoing Palestinian political split, as it
has succeeded in institutionalizing the closure imposed on the Gaza Strip.  He warned of further deterioration of the
human rights situation unless the international community intervenes.


In the conclusion of the meeting, Shaqqura
stressed that the upcoming stage requires more effective international role to
ensure that Israel will not obstruct the expected Palestinian elections,
especially through restrictions on the movement between the Gaza Strip and the
West Bank, and inside the West Bank itself where Israeli has established more
than 500 checkpoints and barriers, and to ensure the participations of
Palestinians living in Jerusalem in the elections.