On Tuesday and Wednesday, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) participated in several meetings and workshops held in the Gaza Strip, including two meetings with delegations from the Representative Offices of Norway and Canada to the Palestinian National Authority (PNA); a workshop for the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO); and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation’s (SDC) celebration of its 25th anniversary.
On Tuesday, 05 November 2019, PCHR received a delegation from the Representative Office of Norway that included Sigbjorn Litland, First Secretary; Gro Hasselknippe, Senior Adviser; and Julie Grqdal, Senior Adviser. The delegation met with Raji Souran, PCHR’s Director, Mr. Hamdi Shaqqurah, PCHR’s Deputy Director for Programs’ Affairs, and the Women’s Rights Unit, and both parties stressed the importance of their mutual cooperation and discussed the human rights situation in the oPt, especially the catastrophic repercussions of the Israeli-imposed closure on the Gaza Strip for the 14th consecutive year.
PCHR also organized a meeting for the Norwegian delegation with the Head of the Higher Committee for Tribal Affairs in the Gaza Strip, Mr. Hussni Al-Mughani, at its head office, where al-Mughani briefed them on the Committee’s work and role as a mediator in societal conflicts and disputes.
Also on Tuesday morning, Sourani participated in a workshop organized by PNGO on “General Elections: Challenges and Aspirations.” The workshop was moderated by Taysser Muhaisen, director of the Palestinian Agriculture Relief Committee, and attended by Dr. Mustafa al-Barghouthy, General Secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative. During the workshop, Sourani emphasized there should be a political will and national consensus to ensure a successful electoral process especially that the President such as issuing a relevant presidential decree took no serious steps. Sourani praised the significant role of Central Elections Commission (CEC), but he emphasized that it is not the role of the CEC Chief to be a mediator between political parties, as its role is only technical as mandated by law. Sourani also stressed that it would be impossible to hold elections in light of the political division, the Palestinian authorities’ muzzling policy and serious violations of the right to freedom of opinion and expression in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. He added that elections are a reflection of free expression, people political will, and without freedom of expression, no free and transparent elections will be held. He also praised the role of the Palestinian human rights and civil society organizations and their historic keenness to support periodic elections since the establishment of the PA in 1994. He underscored that PCHR and civil society organizations have always disseminated the culture of democracy, pluralism, acceptance of the other, and peaceful devolution over years and years.
On Tuesday evening, a delegation from PCHR, including Raji Sournai, Hamdi Shaqqura; Abdul Halim Abu Samra, Head of PCHR’s Training Unit; Fedaa’ Murjan, Fundraising Officer; and Aya Naami, Finance Officer, participated in a ceremony organized by the Culture and Free Thought Association (CFTA) in its head office in Khan Younis in celebration of the 25th anniversary of SDC in Palestine. It was attended by donors and SDC partners. Raji Sourani thanked Mrs. Mariam Zaqout, CFTA Director, for their hospitality and congratulated SDC on 25 years of partnership with the Palestinian civil society, highlighting the exceptional ties it has fostered with its partners and the gratitude for its unwavering support for the Palestinian civil society.
On Wednesday morning, Raji Sourani, PCHR’s Director, received Andrea Niklaus, Political and Trade Officer in the Canadian Representative Office in Ramallah, at PCHR’s head office, where he reviewed the human rights situation in the oPt and the Gaza Strip specifically.