On Monday, 17 November 2014, the Palestinian Centre for Human
Rights (PCHR) received a Swedish delegation comprised of Mr. Robert Rydberg,
Head of the Middle East and North Africa Department at the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs of Sweden; Ms. Ann-Sofie Nilsson, the Swedish Consul General; her
deputy Ms. Johanna Strömquist; and representative of Human Rights and
International Humanitarian Law Secretariat.
The delegation met with a number of representatives of member
organizations of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat: Al-Dameer
Association for Human Rights; al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights, Palestinian
Centre for Human Rights, Women’s Affairs Centre, Independent Commission for
Human Rights, and Palestine Bar Association.
Representatives of the organizations briefed the visiting
delegation on the human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory
(oPt), especially in the Gaza Strip after the latest Israeli offensive and the
massive killing and destruction of lives and property. The meeting addressed the Israeli closure that
has been imposed on the Gaza Strip for 7 years and the attempts to
institutionalize it instead of completely lifting it. The organizations’ representatives also
emphasized the importance to hold Israel accountable for the war crimes and
crimes against humanity against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip during
the latest offensive. The meeting also
discussed the prevention of the UN Commission of Inquiry into the latest
offensive by Israel from entering Gaza and investigate in those crimes on the
ground. The meeting further addressed the
constraints and obstacles to the commencement of reconstruction following the
destruction left by Israeli forces during the offensive. The representatives of the organizations explained
the obstacles hindering the reconstruction process have been existent before and
after the Israeli offensive in addition to the large-scale destruction and
closure, which is still imposed. They
added that the situation in the Gaza Strip is unprecedentedly catastrophic
warning the international community of the possibility of another explosion.
Moreover, the organizations’ representatives highly appreciated the
Swedish role and the Swedish government’s clear alignment to the truth and justice
when Sweden was the first European county that recognized Palestine as a
PCHR received also a delegation from the Irish "Trocaire"
Foundation. The delegation included:
Garry Walsh, Program Director; and Niall O’keeffe, Trocaires’s Programme Leader
for Governance and Human Rights. Mr.
Raji Sourani, Director of PCHR, and PCHR’s staff met with the Irish delegation
and explained the human rights situation in the oPt especially in the Gaza
Strip following the offensive. This
visit is the first of its kind for the delegation members after the offensive
It should be mentioned that "Trocaire" is an Irish
Foundation, which has been a partner supporter for PCHR for long years.