Establishing New Units at the PCHR
During 1997, two new units were established at the PCHR in the field of womens and social and economic rights. The PCHR hopes to promote the activities of these recently established units during 1998 and the following years.
Womens and Group Rights Project
This project was established in May 1997 on a one-year, renewable basis. Its establishment, however, was the fruit of a comprehensive study of the conditions of women and the activities of womens institutions in the Gaza Strip. The project aims at providing legal aid to women and womens organizations. Such aid will include legal interventions on behalf of women in Sharia courts, a service never provided in the Gaza Strip other than by profit making lawyers. In addition, the Project works on raising the legal awareness of Palestinian women regarding human rights and local laws. The project also conducts research on women issues and supports all efforts to amend local laws in order to end all discriminatory measures against women.
Economic and Social Rights Unit
This unit was established in 1997 to address the crucial issue of economic and social rights in Palestine. The need for such a unit to focus on these rights is enhanced by the almost complete lack of attention that these issues receive from other human rights groups in Palestine. The unit plans to conduct studies, research, and workshops, concentrating on social and economic rights in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The unit will also attempt to review Palestinian legislation and draft laws to ensure their compatibility with international standards. Finally, the unit will attempt to establish a data-base on these rights to be available for planners and policy makers and to persuade them to ensure that their plans and policies are compatible with international standards.