Program Contribution to the Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR)
ICHR is the Palestinian national Human Rights ombudsman, dedicated to supporting Palestinian citizens’ rights. It’s an independent institution which monitors the performance of the government and its compliance with legal and human rights obligations, advices the authorities to improve the respect of human rights in the oPt and support victims of human rights violations. SDC will continue with four other donors to finance its core budget and support its institutional development. This project is a direct contribution to the democratic state building agenda of Switzerland.
- To promote the respect of human rights in Palestine
- To create an enabling legislative and policy environment that safeguards human rights in Palestine in conjunction with SDGs
- To consolidate prevention, protection, accountability and compensation of human rights violations
- To promote the use of international mechanisms to protect human rights of Palestinians
- Building ICHR capacity to take up the role of the National Prevention Mechanism (NPM) against torture to enhance internal accountability within Palestinian security agencies in preparation for Palestine joining OPCAT
- Developing ICHR expertise in supporting the PA’s institutions regarding reporting, writing its own shadow reports, leading national consultations, and following up on the implementation of human rights treaties and conventions. Moreover, the Palestinian executive authorities are closely monitored and held accountable for aligning domestic legislation and policies with international standards with a special focus on Economic, Social and Cultural rights (ESCR) of marginalized groups.
- Further enhancing of ICHR core functions in the fields of monitoring, reporting, sensitisation and capacity building of security agencies
- Effective interventions to protect freedom of speech, right to assembly and political freedoms, in particular by extending the use of complaint mechanisms by the citizens
- Networking, lobbying and advocacy campaigns are organised in the following priorities : protection of the rights of marginalised and vulnerable groups with special focus on socio economic rights (labour, unemployment and child labour), prevention of torture, improving detention and rehabilitation centres’ conditions, allowing regular visits of detainees by physicians, and increasing the internal expertise on women and children’s rights
- Consolidate ICHR governance, provide capacity building and improve skills of the ICHR staff, build and manage successful a management information system.
- ICHR directly reached out to at least 3,840 individuals through awareness activities, amongst which 1085 were community members, 1’388 were school students, 450 civil CSOs staff and members, 487 university students, 527 mid-level security agencies’ staff and 192 public sector servants. It is estimated that the knowledge is transferred indirectly to at least 23,000 Palestinians.
- In cooperation with UN Women, ICHR promoted women access to justice through establishment and activation of the women access to justice observatory, putting a clear system in cooperation with all relevant stakeholders to oversee and manage the obstacles hindering women access to justice.
- Reviewed and amended the reference framework of the national educational curriculum, integrating human rights concepts including international conventions as key references, assessing 26 qualified messages in the civil education curriculum of 1st, 6th and 9th grades.
- Reviewed and provided recommendation to 8 legislations and 7 policies and regulations that directly affect marginalized groups including women, children and people with disabilities for both PA authority in the West Bank and Hamas authority in Gaza (i.e. Cancelling Hamas national solidarity tax, Draft Public Education law, Civil service draft law in relation to people with disabilities, Presidential Decree on social security, Draft Presidential decree on transfer and transplanting human parts, Public employment law/implementing regulations in relation to People with Disabilities, Policies to organize juvenile justice sector, Policies related to electricity crises in Gaza, Legal Rights of wounded people with Disabilities, Policies related to transfer program of battered women in Gaza)
- Enhanced Palestinian legislation to comply with International Human Rights principles and conventions illustrated by interventions at Judiciary and executive systems (i.e. suspension of decree related to the establishment of the Higher Media Council, adopting the criminalization of torture clause in the draft police law)
- Mainstreamed citizens’ economic, cultural and social rights throughout the National Policy Agenda (2017-2022)
- Sub-National State SouthEast
The occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) remains affected by systematic and frequent violations of human rights by the main duty bearers: Israeli occupying power, Palestinian Authority and de facto authority in Gaza. The Palestinian parliament (PLC) has been inactive since 2007, and no elections have been organised since 2006. The divide between Palestinian authorities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip adds to the lack of democratic legitimacy of the national institutions. In this context, human rights violations including arbitrary detention, torture, unenforced enforcement of judicial decisions, restrictions of freedom of opinion are widespread. Women’s rights also raise major concerns, with increased gender-based violence and limited access to justice. Violations of economic, social and cultural rights such as the right to water, to food, to shelter, access to land and property, access to health services and safety/security are also major problems affecting mostly marginalized communities.
ICHR as a core national institution for Palestinian democratic State-building, mandated to promote and monitor respect of human rights in the whole oPt plays an important role in this context. It is highly respected by all Palestinian duty-bearers and is viewed as a non-partisan, autonomous, neutral and professional national human rights institution.
To protect and promote human rights in accordance with the Palestinian Basic Law and international human rights law, applying a Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA).
Palestinian authorities, Legislative Council members, civil institutions (courts), Civil society actors, security agencies & Palestinian victims of human rights violations in the oPt.
Results from previous phases:
|Directorate/federal office responsible||
Foreign state institution
Sub-national State Authority
Norway, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden (donors consortium); the Palestinian Authority.
|Coordination with other projects and actors||
HR/IHL Secretariat CSOs partners & donors, Diakonia, OHCHR, AIDA, relevant PA ministries such as MoI, MoJ, Min of Women Affairs, Ministry of Social Affairs and humanitarian actors.
|Budget||Current phase Swiss budget CHF 1'500'000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF 1'020'654|
|Project phases||Phase 6 01.04.2017 - 31.12.2019 (Current phase) Phase 5 01.01.2014 - 31.03.2017 (Completed) Phase 4 01.07.2011 - 31.12.2013 (Completed)|