International Advocacy 2008

Highlights: Two delegation trips to South Africa. Adalah Attorney Fatmeh El-Ajou testified before the UN Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People. Adalah Attorney Suhad Bishara's speaking tour in France and Belgium on Adalah's Democratic Constitution.

South Africa | UN Advocacy | EU Advocacy | International Conferences

South Africa

Press Release - A delegation headed by the Chairman of the Arab High Follow-up Committee including representatives of the October 2000 victims' families and Adalah traveled to South Africa in 4/08 to seek international support for the group's demand for truth, justice and accountability for the October 2000 families. The visit was the first of a series of international advocacy initiatives launched after the AG's decision in 1/08 not to indict any police responsible for the October 2000 killings. SA officials and human rights lawyers and activists offered strong support. The delegation learned about transitional justice mechanisms and processes of memorialization pursued in SA. The Foundation for Human Rights and the Legal Resources Centre (LRC) hosted the visit.

Press Release - Arab MKs, political leaders, the Chairman of the Arab High Follow-up Committee and Adalah traveled to South Africa in 6/08 for a study visit on constitution building. The visit was organized with the LRC and the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC). It included meetings with academics, human rights lawyers, ministers, MPs and ANC officials.

Press Release - Twelve representatives from Arab political parties, academics and Adalah participated in a two-week educational course in 10/08 on the history of South Africa and the struggle against apartheid by the African National Congress (ANC) and other actors.

"Reflections on South Africa" from five members of the delegation was published in Adalah's Newsletter in 11/08

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UN Advocacy

Adalah strongly protested the denial of entry and deportation from Israel of Professor Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur for HR in the OPT, in a letter to the Interior Minister and the AG in 12/08. This letter received wide coverage in the local and international media.

Ms. Asma Jahangir, the UN Special Rapporteur on Religious Freedom, visited Adalah's offices in 1/08 for a briefing at which Arab religious leaders and Adalah called on her to urge Israel to cease discrimination against Arab religious communities. Adalah submitted a short issues paper to the SR.

Al Hawq, Adalah, and PCHR-Gaza submitted a joint NGO briefing paper to the UN Human Rights Council in 2/08 analyzing the Supreme Court's decision to reject a petition challenging fuel and electricity cuts to Gaza. Adalah and Gisha represented Palestinian civilians and ten Palestinian and Israeli human rights NGOs in this case. 

The UN Independent Expert (IE) on Minority Issues cited the Citizenship Law banning family unification between Palestinians as an example of the denial or deprivation of citizenship in her report to the UN Human Rights Council of 2/08. Attorney Hassan Jabareen participated in an UN expert consultation on non-citizen rights in 12/07.

Prof. Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, criticized the AG's decision in the October 2000 killings cases in his 5/08 report to the UN HR Council. The SR concluded that the AG's decision not to issue indictments "would appear to fall short of international standards." Adalah provided information to the SR about the October 2000 cases.

Adalah Attorney Fatmeh El-Ajou testified before the UN Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People in 6/08 in Amman (UN Press Release). She focused on a legal analysis of recent Israeli Supreme Court cases dealing with the status of Gaza.

The United Against Torture (UAT) coalition submitted an NGO report to the UN Committee Against Torture (CAT) in 9/08. Adalah Attorney Fatmeh El-Ajou together with representatives from UAT and Al Haq traveled to Geneva in 11/08 to introduce the main concerns of the UAT to a CAT country rapporteur on Israel and international NGOs working to eradicate torture. The CAT will review Israel in 5/09. Adalah contributed 10 sections to the report, which analyze various Israeli laws and practices constituting torture and/or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of prisoners and Palestinian civilians in the OPT. Adalah also participated in diplomatic briefings in Israel on the UAT report.

The UN Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) issued a report following its first review of Israel in 12/08. Among its 33 recommendations, the Council urged Israel to ensure the rights of the Arab Bedouin in the Naqab, suspend the ban on family unification, implement the Or Commission's recommendations into the October 2000 killings, and end the Occupation. Adalah submitted its NGO report to the Council in 7/08, and many of our key concerns were reflected in the Council's report. Adalah Attorney Suhad Bishara attended the UPR session in Geneva in 12/08, and presented at side-events and at a press conference organized together with Badil. UPR documentation on Israel.

In 12/08, Adalah Attorney Sawsan Zaher participated as an expert in the UN's inaugural session of the Forum on Minority Issues in Geneva. Experts from around the world were invited to give comments on a draft recommendation on minorities and the right to education that may be adopted as an authoritative interpretation of international human rights law. Attorney Zaher provided interventions on budgets; access to education for girls; and curriculum development. Forum on Minority Issues documentation and Adalah's contribution.

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EU Advocacy 

Adalah Attorney Fatmeh El-Ajou in 4/08, and Adalah General Director Hassan Jabareen and Adalah Attorney Sawsan Zaher in 9/08, participated in a series of advocacy meetings in Brussels with European Commission, European Parliament and European Council representatives organized by the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) and the FIDH. The advocacy in 4/08 was held alongside a meeting of the EMHRN's Working Group on Palestine/Israel.

The EMHRN and its members in Israel and the OPT, including Adalah, submitted a note expressing deep concern over the deterioration in the human rights situation in Israel and the OPT to the EU-Israel Human Rights Working Group in 4/08, and called on the EU to cooperate to bring an end to the highlighted human rights violations.

The EMHRN submitted a briefing paper to the EU-Israel Association Council ahead of the Council's annual meeting in 6/08 urging the EU to raise grave concerns over the human rights of Palestinians in the OPT and in Israel, and to bring diplomatic pressure to bear on Israel to alleviate them. 

Adalah's International Advocacy Director Rina Jabareen participated in an EU Advocacy workshop in Brussels organized by Christian Aid (CA) for its NGO partners from Israel and the OPT in 11/08. Meetings were also held with the European Commission, the Council, the Parliament and the permanent representation offices of EU member states and NGO coalition platforms with a strong EU lobby presence in Brussels such as APRODEV, CIDSE and Crisis Action. She also attended a meeting of the EMHRN's Working Group on Palestine/Israel.

Adalah contributed to two important documents submitted in 12/08 by the EMHRN to the EU concerning the EU-Israel Action Plan. The first critiqued Israel's lack of progress in improving its HR record in 2008; the EU requested NGO-input into its annual progress report on action plans with ENP countries. The second offered a series of specific recommendations to include HR in the new EU-Israel Action Plan to be adopted in 4/09.

Adalah Attorney Sawsan Zaher participated in two meetings of the EMHRN's Working Group on Gender: one in Cairo in 5/08, which was also a regional coordination and planning meeting on the Istanbul Action Plan; and one in Brussels in 10/08, which also included lobbying activities and a public event. Attorney Zaher is the conveyor of the WG. She also participated in the EMHRN's Executive Committee meeting in Brussels in 10/08 and the EMHRN's General Assembly Meeting in Barcelona in 12/08.

Adalah's legal apprentice, Haneen Naamnih, was selected and attended the EMHRN's one-week Human Rights Education Summer School in Istanbul, Turkey in 7/08. The theme of the summer school was protecting human rights in conflict. She was also selected to participate in the EMHRN's General Assembly meeting in Barcelona in 12/08.

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International Conferences

Adalah Attorney Suhad Bishara gave a presentation on the Nakba at a conference on "Breaking the Logic of Displacement" organized by the Forum for Human Rights in Israel/Palestine to commemorate 60 Years of the Nakba in 4/08 in Bern, Switzerland. The forum comprises Swiss organizations active in ME development and HR. 

Adalah's General Director Attorney Hassan Jabareen and the Deputy State Attorney (DSA) Shai Nitzan participated in a special panel in London organized by the Human Rights Lawyers Association (HRLA) in 5/08. The event, entitled "Human Rights during 60 Years of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict," was attended by around 250 people. Attorney Jabareen spoke about Palestinians under Israeli law since 1948; DSA Nitzan spoke about Israeli Supreme Court judgments and Arab citizens of Israel. Attorney Jabareen also spoke at Cambridge University before a group of 25 faculty members and ME specialists in the Department of Middle East History.

Adalah Attorney Suhad Bishara undertook a four-day speaking tour in France and Belgium in 6/08 on Adalah's Democratic Constitution. The tour was organized by the French Jewish Union for Peace in the framework of the International Campaign celebrating 60 Years of Israel and the 60th anniversary of the Nakba.

Attorney Hassan Jabareen gave a presentation on the failure of domestic remedies in cases of killings of Palestinians at a conference convened by Diakonia entitled "Palestine/Israel: Making Monitoring Work - Re-Enforcing International Law in Europe." The two-day conference was held at the Free University in Brussels in 9/08 and brought together leading lawyers and human rights activists from Israel/OPT and Europe.

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