Ref: 63/2012


On Monday 9th July, a delegation
from the European Commission’s Directorate General for Humanitarian Aid and
Civil Protection (ECHO), led by their Head of Office for West Bank and Gaza, Mamar Merzouk,
visited the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights’ (PCHR).


The delegation was received by Deputy Director
for Program Affairs, Hamdi Shaqqura and Deputy Director for Administrative and
Legal Affairs, Iyad Alami of PCHR.


In this introductory meeting, the priorities of
the respective organisations were outlined and common interests identified,
particularly in relation to Gaza.


Mr. Merzouk outlined ECHO’s contributions this
year of €40 million to the oPt; used to feed and protect the most vulnerable,
to provide access to healthcare and psychosocial support and for the provision
of clean water. He said that the contribution of ECHO and others helps to
alleviate the suffering of vulnerable Palestinians but the closure of Gaza needs to end to
allow economic recovery and less dependency on humanitarian aid.

Mr. Shaqqura gave an analysis of the
difficulties faced by the people of Gaza
arising from the occupation and the closure. He outlined PCHR’s work in the
area of protection, particularly legal assistance, representation and advocacy-
nationally and internationally.

Serious concern was expressed by both parties
at the deteriorating conditions in Gaza.
There was mutual agreement that while aid is vital to avert a man-made
humanitarian disaster, the current model is not sustainable. In addition, while
humanitarian donations are needed to alleviate suffering, they must be
associated with advocacy at all levels to bring about the desired change to end
the closure of Gaza.

In the analysis of both parties, the causative
factors leading to the circumstance in the oPt need to be
addressed as a matter of the highest priority. A commitment was made to seek
collaborative ways of furthering this shared agenda.

The meeting was a fruitful first meeting and
PCHR looks forward to working constructively with ECHO towards the
accomplishment of shared goals.