The Palestinian Center for Human rights (PCHR) launched a documentary titled “PCHR: 20 Years of Experience” that documents PCHR’s history during the past 20 years since its establishment in 1995. PCHR published this film celebrating the 20th anniversary of its establishment to be an inspiration for others.
The film along with the preceding preparations demonstrates the most prominent phases in PCHR’s work and constitutes a self-assessment process that unveils exhausting but spectacular journey made by PCHR. The journey that has made PCHR enjoys the current status of being worldwide popular based on its hard work and efforts in addition to the respect and appreciation it gained locally and internationally for its impartiality.
Moreover, the film documents a significant period of PCHR’s history for two decades and reviews the most significant stages that PCHR passed through to be a source of inspiration. The most prominent stages included the establishment of Women’s Rights Unit in the beginning of its establishment to offer legal assistance for women’s organizations and for women as well. The film also shows the importance of the Unit in terms of women’s empowerment and offering judicial remedy before local courts or raising awareness on local and international laws.
Furthermore, the film lists notable extracts of PCHR’s history, including difficulties and challenges it has experienced since its establishment on both the local and Israeli levels and reflect the size of efforts practiced during those two decades, the targeted groups and PCHR’s involvement on the local and international levels in defending Palestinian rights in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) against the Palestinian authority or Israel. The film also highlights the progress PCHR has achieved so far.
The film sheds lights on PCHR’s harvest during the past period, including the most precious moments, successes and awards for the protection of human rights and justice in the oPt. One of the remarkable achievements was, inter alia, the Right Livelihood Award known as Alternative Nobel Prize granted to Raji Sourani, PCHR’s Director. The importance of this Award lies in that it was the culmination of PCHR’s successes as an international recognition of PCHR’s efforts and credibility.
The publication of this film coincides with the peak of PCHR’s legal battle for the victims of Israeli occupation before the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the accompanying Israeli attempts to slander, threaten, including death threats, and pursuit PCHR and its partners to discourage them from carrying out their efforts. The film highlights the most significant efforts of PCHR’s to end impunity of the Israeli war criminals and bring justice to the victims. The most noteworthy stages was PCHR’s legal submission presented to the ICC in partnership with Palestinian human rights organizations last November concerning Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed during the last Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip in 2014.
The film displays PCHR’s work since it was established with statements made by the team that founded PCHR and followed up its progress until now. Moreover, the film includs statements and appraisal by prominent figures regarding PCHR’s work. Following are the most significant statements:
Riyadh al-Za’noun, Chairman of PCHR’s Board of Directors
“PCHR withstood the Palestinian split and considered it the worst disaster inflicted upon the Palestinian people. PCHR has never quit addressing all concerned parties to put an end to the split. PCHR further focused on women’s rights and established a special unit to work on that while shed light on the judiciary split as well”.
Shawan Jabareen, Director of Al-Haq Organization
“PCHR is a high-profile organization that does not compromise the very basic principles regarding the Palestinian or Israeli human rights violations. PCHR moved from words to action to materialize human rights and basic principles”.
Hanan Ashrawi, PLO Executive Committee Member
“PCHR’s role has become more fundamental. The absence of the PLC means the lack of real oversight and accountability from people. It is, thus, the responsibility of NGOs to take this task and make decisions to rectify the flaws of the Palestinian regime”.
Sahar Francis, Director General of Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association
“We are all aware how profound the Palestinian political crisis is, including promulgation of laws through presidential decrees or through incompetent authorities. PCHR played a distinct role in documenting such breaches and ensuring respect to international human rights standards and public freedoms, including confronting the limitations imposed on NGOs work whether in the Gaza Strip or West Bank”.
Rawya al-Shawwa, PLC Member
“PCHR is esteemed for creating a new situation in which Palestinians expected to be safe against the Israeli occupation. When the PA was founded, there was no satisfaction about the Oslo Accords. The PA came to liberate individuals not confine them, yet PCHR has vigorously defended human rights in spite of the challenges”.
Essam Yunis, Director of al-Mezan Center for Human Rights
“PCHR’s work under these tough circumstances proved that working in the field of human rights is not necessarily convenient for any government. A government sometimes is prejudiced against what human rights organizations do although their work is professional par excellence. This led to a conflict between the PA on the one hand and CBOs, mainly PCHR, on the other hand. PCHR was almost the only organization defending human rights in the Gaza Strip and in direct contact with both civilians and law enforcement authorities. As a person who witnessed the early days of PCHR, I recall the various forms of pressure practiced by the PA security services against PCHR, including summoning its director Raji Sourani”.
PCHR draws attention that followers and interested persons can use the film or extracts from it on condition that they refer to the source or contact PCHR.