The Centre is composed of specialized working units which carry out their activities in an autonomous but integrated manner.
The fieldwork is considered the basic activity of the Centre. Well-trained field workers located in different areas of the Gaza Strip obtain accurate and documented legal information on human rights violations in the Gaza Strip. They gather information in the field from victims and witnesses of human rights violations. The information is received by the coordinator of the unit and other researchers to verify accuracy. Through the field workers’ presence in the field the Centre has been able to maintain close contacts with the community. In this way, the community is able to influence the work of the Centre and the Centre is able to meet the community’s interests and demands.
This unit is composed primarily of a team of lawyers who give free legal aid and counselling to individuals and groups. The unit also carries out legal intervention with concerned bodies and makes legal representations before courts in cases that involve broad principles of human rights that affect not just the individual before the court but the community as a whole. Furthermore, the unit attempts to support the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law.
This unit specializes in the promotion of democracy and the promotion of civil society and the rule of law. The unit’s team carries out research and organises workshops and seminars to discuss issues on human rights and democracy. The unit’s team also prepares comments on draft laws prepared by the Palestinian Authority in an effort to influence the decision-making process and the adoption of democratic laws. The unit has been also involved in providing training on human rights and democracy for youth groups.
This unit seeks to ensure the importance of economic and social rights through research and study. Such work is particularly important because it tends to be neglected, to some extent, by other human rights organizations. To achieve its goals the unit conducts studies, workshops, and seminars that focus attention on economic and social rights in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The unit seeks to develop recommendations and standards for each of these rights to be fulfilled in the Palestinian situation. Moreover, the unit reviews and assesses the legislation and draft laws pertaining to these rights adopted by the Palestinian Authority in an effort to secure legislation that is in harmony with international
standards. The unit further seeks to provide an informative training base for governmental and non-governmental personnel who are empowered to set plans and implement programs and policies relevant to these rights. The goal of such training is to help bring economic and social rights into alignment with the standards accepted internationally and to ensure the maximum degree of implementation of these rights.
This Unit was established as a pilot project in May of 1997 for one year, renewable upon assessment of its accomplishments. The initial project was established after a thorough and comprehensive study of the conditions of Palestinian women and the work of women’s institutions in the Gaza Strip. The Unit aims to provide legal aid for women and women’s organizations. Intervention on behalf of women in Shari’a courts is included in its mandate. The Unit further aims to raise awareness of women’s rights established by international human rights conventions and to raise the awareness of Palestinian women in regard to their rights under local law. Finally, the Unit is carrying out studies on Palestinian women and the law, while supporting the amendment of local laws inconsistent with women’s rights.
The Training Unit is a main instrument in PCHR’s work in disseminating and developing a human rights culture, and promoting democratic concepts in the local community with all its various segments. The Unit organizes and holds training courses and workshops in order to develop theoretical knowledge and provide professional skills that can contribute to a real change in the behavior of the society, which in turn can promote respect for, and protection of human rights and participation in community building. The target groups of the training courses and workshops are particularly the youth, including university students, activists of political parties, lawyers, media, union members, and other civil society groups.
The Centre has established a specialised legal library in subjects related to local and international law, human rights, and democracy. The library includes books and periodicals in both Arabic and English and includes all Palestinian laws and Israeli military orders. Documents pertaining to laws of neighbouring Arab countries are also available. Furthermore, the library includes a variety of books and periodicals detailing the Palestinian question and the Arab-Israeli conflict. The library is open for the free use of researchers, academics, and students.