Al Mezan and Mukhtars Association of Palestine Organize Training on 'Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law... Basic Concepts'

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Today, Monday 25 April 2011, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights and the Mukhtars Association of Palestine opened a training course entitled 'Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law; Basic Concepts', held at the Gaza Commodore Hotel in Gaza city. Thirty-three mukhtars (traditional community leaders) from the Gaza Strip participated in the course.

Mr. Issam Younis, Al Mezan's director, opened the course and welcomed the participants. He thanked the Mukhtars Association for their cooperation with Al Mezan and stressed it importance in the Gaza Strip. Younis said that the course aimed to raise awareness of human rights and international humanitarian law (IHL) among active social groups. The participants, who are involved actively in the informal justice systems in Gaza on a daily basis, can play a significant role in promoting and ensuring respect for the human rights of children, men and women in Gaza. Younis talked about the deteriorating human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, which is very harmful to individuals as well as society. He highlighted the need to invest greater efforts to secure respect for people’s rights by all the organs of society, including civil society, who work under serious obstacles.

Mr. Saif Ad-Din Abu Ramadan, the Chair of Mukhtars Association, thanked Al Mezan for organizing the course. He welcomed the participants and trainers and expressed the hope that the course would meet the participants' expectations and that it would motivate them to work towards contributing to the respect of human rights and the rule of law in the Gaza Strip.

The course consists of 24 hours to be delivered over four days. The course introduces participants to the historical and legal framework of international human rights law (IHRL) and IHL; the content of the basic principles of IHL and standards of human rights. It pays special focus on protection and the rights of women, as enshrined in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination and the special protection ascribed to women and children under IHL.

Mr. Mahmoud Abu Rahma, Coordinator of Communications and International Relations at Al Mezan, presented the first session which introduced the notion and the basic principles of human rights. He talked about human rights concepts, evolution, mechanisms as well as challenges.

Mr. Adnan Al Hajjar, Coordinator of the Research and Technical Assistance Unit at Al Mezan, delivered the second session on economic, social, and cultural rights. Over the coming three days, the course will cover CEDAW, the protection mechanisms of human rights and IHL; including the role of informal justice.