Ref: 79/2012

 

The International Association of Democratic
Lawyers (IADL) Executive Committee is continuing its activities in the Gaza
Strip, as the Executive Committee members have attended a number of meetings
with public officials, and local and international organizations.  The delegation, comprised of 18 lawyers
including Mr Raji Sourani, Director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights
(PCHR), is being hosted by PCHR this week for an historic visit to the Gaza
Strip.

 

This morning, 27 September 2012, the Executive
Committee met with Dr Mazen Haniya, the Palestinian Minister of Justice in
Gaza.  In the meeting, the participants
addressed several topics, primarily: the independence of the judiciary; the
means for providing access to justice; the activities of the Ministry of
Justice; and political arrests.

 

The Executive Committee is continuing its
activities this afternoon, as its members participate in a seminar, titled
"Accountability for violations of international law in the occupied
Palestinian territory".

 

On Wednesday, 26 September 2012, the delegation
met with Ms Catia Lopes, the Executive Assistant to the Director of UNRWA
Operations, and Ms Leonor Vilas Costa, Legal Officer in UNRWA.  The meeting was held in PCHR’s Head Office in
Gaza City.

 

Executive Committee members also delivered
three lectures in the law faculties of the University of Palestine, Islamic
University, and Al Azhar University.  The
lectures were attended by deans, lecturers and students of the university law
faculties.  The delegates outlined their
professional experience as lawyers.  In
addition, they discussed the common law system, the right to
self-determination, and mechanisms for filing cases before the courts in their
own countries.

 

In the evening, the network of Palestinian
Non-governmental Organizations (PNGO) hosted the delegation, allowing them to
meet with representatives of civil society organizations from across the Gaza
Strip.  Local organization
representatives explained the key challenges they face in their work and the
group explored the possible means of cooperation and coordination with IADL.

 

The delegation also met with a number of
representatives of international organizations in the Gaza Strip, including
OCHA, the OHCHR, WHO, UNICEF, and the ICRC. 
Delegation members were briefed on the nature of international
organizations’ work in the Gaza Strip and the main obstacles that threaten to
restrict their work.

 

The IADL Executive Committee met with
representatives of various Palestinian political parties, as well as religious
and national leaders. The delegation received a detailed explanation of the
internal situation, as well as the ramifications of the political split between
the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The group discussed the rights and freedoms
which are guaranteed to the Palestinian people under the local and
international standards.

 

On Tuesday, 25 September 2012, the delegation
participated in the second conference of the Palestinian Bar Association, where
Ms Jeanne Mirer, President of the IADL, delivered a speech.  The Executive Committee met with a number of
representatives of human rights organizations in the Gaza Strip, including: Mr
Isam Yunis, Director of Al Mezan Center for Human Rights; Mr Jamil Serhan,
Director of the Independent Commission of Human Rights; Mr Khalil Abu Shamala,
Director of Addameer Association; and Mr Salama Bseiso, Deputy Director of the
Palestinian Bar Association and Secretary-General of the Arab Lawyers
Union.  During a reception organized by
PCHR, the delegation met with members of PCHR’s Board of Directors, and a
number of academics, human rights activists, lawyers, journalists, and
representatives of international and women’s organizations.

 

The IADL, which was founded in Paris in 1946,
is a non-governmental organization that has consultative status at the UN
ECOSOC and UNESCO.  Its members include
lawyers from throughout the world and representatives of a number of national
and regional associations and unions. The IADL has maintained a strong
relationship with PCHR over many years and supports the inalienable rights of
the Palestinian people, including the right to self-determination.  

 

The IADL Executive Committee took the decision
to convene this bi-annual meeting in the Gaza Strip as an expression of the
Association’s solidarity with the Palestinian people and their rejection of
Israeli human rights violations against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.