THINGS YOU CAN DO TO HELP HUMAN RIGHTS IN PALESTINE
The protection of human rights and
promotion of international humanitarian law in the Occupied
Palestinian Territory (OPT) is not only the business of
governments; it requires the effort of civil society groups and
individuals worldwide to ensure that Palestinian civilians receive
the protections to which they entitled under international law.
PCHR's position is that
Palestinian civilians must be protected through the de jure application of the Fourth Geneva Convention in the OPT
and that Israel must end its occupation of Palestinian territory
seized in 1967 and ensure the Palestinian people the right to
self-determination. Fulfilling these basic rights is the minimum
standard. There are many
ways to help achieve these goals.
If you wish to make a
financial contribution to PCHR then please click here to find out how.
Although many people are
beginning to talk about an end to the second Palestinian Intifada, which
began in September 2000, the situation of the Palestinian civilian population
remains dire. Since the Sharm el Sheikh summit Israeli Occupying Forces
(IOF) have continued to kill Palestinians and to commit other human rights
violations: Palestinians from the Gaza Strip are still forbidden from travelling
to the West Bank and the checkpoint and closure system is still in place across
the OPT. Significantly - the IOF have continued to construct the Annexation
Wall in the West Bank - and settlement construction and expansion is visible in
large numbers of the illegal settlements across the Occupied Palestinian
reason PCHR is asking activists, members of the public, trade unions, business
people, NGOs and any other interested parties to continue to take steps
to help human rights in occupied Palestine.
some methods we suggest for assisting, if you have any other ideas or comments
then please contact us at
1. Make sure you join the PCHR e-mail list.
By joining the PCHR
mailing list you guarantee that you will keep yourself informed of
the real facts on the ground and what they mean for human rights.
To join our mailing list please
2. Become active in your local Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
Solidarity Campaigns are organisations with a
worldwide spread but a community focus– they are active in promoting
awareness and understanding of the plight of Palestinians. By
joining your local campaign you can become involved in advocacy,
organising events and even witnessing first hand what is happening
at the hands of the IOF.
3. Circulate the reports PCHR produces to family, friends and
throughout your local community.
Modern marketing experts are only now discovering what
grassroots activists have known for years – that change comes
through people communicating with other people. Tell people about
what is happening in
Palestine by giving them copies of our reports. You can circulate
our reports via e-mail to save paper and be more environmentally
aware – ask friends and family to join our mailing list so they can
read first hand the experiences of Palestinian civilians.
Where appropriate ask your local library, community
centre or religious centre if you can leave copies of our reports in
a prominent public area. If you are printing out or photocopying
our reports please try to use recycled paper to help the
4. Get involved in translating the work of PCHR into different
PCHR already gets many of our reports translated into
Spanish and a limited number translated into Italian and French.
However we are always keen to inform new groups of people about our
work and don’t want to assume that everyone can read about what is
Palestine through Arabic and English. We would be happy to receive
volunteers to translate reports into any language, though our
priority is to focus on languages such as French, Portuguese and
German (and any other European languages), and Asian languages such
as those in the Indian sub-continent, Chinese and Japanese. To
find out how to become involved in translating PCHR documents please
e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
5. Write to your elected (or unelected) representatives asking them
to take action.
PCHR believes that the question of
Palestine can be resolved through the implementation of
internationally agreed standards of behaviour. Most governments
have signed up to the instruments of international law, in
particular the Fourth Geneva Convention (which governs the behaviour
of an occupying power) – this means that, according to Article 1 of
the Convention, they have a binding obligation to “ensure respect”
for the Convention.
Recently the International Court of Justice found that
all governments had a special obligation not to recognise the
attempt by Israel to annex more Palestinian land (by building the
Wall in the West Bank) and that governments have a clear obligation
to ensure that the Annexation Wall is dismantled.
Please write to your government and remind them of
their obligations and ask them to take firm measures, not just empty
utterances, to help Palestinian civilians achieve an end to the
Israeli occupation of their land. As more people write to their
governments these governments will understand that the question of
Palestine is no longer one they can ignore – at home or abroad.
Take to the streets, or the theatres, or anywhere you can.
More action is required to let people in authority
know the strength of feeling about this question and a very visible
way of doing this is by taking to the streets in protest at the
conspiracy of silence practised by governments on the question of
Palestine. However street events don’t always have to be sombre or
serious events – use your imagination and organise carnivals and
festivals which educate your community about Palestinian food,
dress, music, poetry and other aspects of the culture. Such events
can be an opportunity to explain to people that this culture is
being suffocated and eradicated by the belligerent Israeli
If you are organising a protest then try to be
innovative – standing around with placards while shouting slogans is
useful to a point but why not try to use costume and art to grab
peoples’ attention instead. People will appreciate the efforts you
have made and become more interested in what you have to say. If
you want to see some examples of events people have already
organised please click here.
If you want to organise some sort of street festival
or protest then please contact your local Palestine Solidarity
Campaign and ask for their advice and support. If you organise
something innovative or exciting then please make sure to send us a
photograph or two and we will be happy to tell people in
about what you are doing to support the Palestinian right of
self-determination. Please send photographs or other information to
Support the work of other NGOs active on the question of Palestine.
As well as Solidarity Campaigns in your own locality
there are many other NGOs working on the question of human rights in
Palestine and Israel. PCHR believes that it is civil society which
provides a forum for the conscience of the world. Civil society
forms a human network, supporting universal values, that even
occupation can not break. Offering support to other civil society
organisations can be a way of making an impact in a wide variety of
fields from traditional human rights groups to those who work on
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights such as mental health or
To find a list of some other organisations working to
improving the situation of Palestinian civilians please
Methodist Church in the USA began a programme of progressive
divestment from companies that were supporting human rights
violations in Israel. If you are managing a business or investing
Pension Funds on behalf of a religious body, trade union or other
organisation you may already be investing ethically. Please ask
your broker to ensure that companies which support the Israeli
occupation and the associated human rights violations are excluded
from your investment portfolio. Companies who do this include those
who operate in illegal Israeli settlements and companies who
manufacture and supply equipment or provide services which support
the occupation of
Remember even individuals can invest ethically by
ensuring that your pension, or other elements of your investment
portfolio, are invested with an ethical investment broker.
9. Make a donation to PCHR.
PCHR survives on the goodwill of our partners and some
select governments who fund the work we carry out. However we
welcome the support of other interested parties who wish to support
human rights in
Palestine. To find out more about the PCHR programme and why you
need to donate please
10. Visit Palestine.
Not exactly a normal tourist trip: but we invite you
to come and witness for yourself the shocking actions of the IOF,
see the West Bank Wall or climb over the rubble from the extensive
house demolitions, see the places where the Israeli military carried
out its brutal policy of extra-judicial executions, see the
bullet-riddled schools where children try to learn.
But you will also meet
Palestine civilians, many of them refugees - people who have nothing
but who will welcome you like you were a long lost family member.
One way or another we guarantee you an unforgettable experience if
you visit Palestine -and a lot to talk about when you get home.
Many of the
solidarity groups listed above will be able to facilitate your
efforts to visit Palestine -
Grassroots International Protection
for the Palestinian People (GIPPP)
is an umbrella organisation for Palestinian and European groups
organising civilian delegations to the OPT.