Towards a more responsive justice system in Gaza Strip “Estijaba”.

Project Title: Towards a more responsive justice system in Gaza Strip “Estijaba”.

Implentation Period: 12 months.

Donor: UNDP

Thematic Program: Democracy, Human Rights and Good Governance

Targeted Groups: Juveniles, Individuals law graduates, decision makers, duty bearers, researchers, lawyers, and INGOs and NGOs representatives.

Objectives:

  • To contribute in improving criminal justice system in Gaza Strip.
  • To contribute in improving gender justice responsiveness in Gaza Strip.
  • To contribute in improving legal policy dialogue and public participation in decision making process.

Activities:

  • Legal aid.
  • Advocacy campaigns.
  • Advance dialogue.
  • Providing legal representation, consultation and mediation services.
  • Training courses.
  • Awareness raising sessions.
  • Policies dialogue.
  • Media activities.

Alleviating physical anf humiliating punishment in the Gaza Strip

Project Title: Alleviating physical anf humiliating punishment in the Gaza Strip.

Implentation Period: 9 months (01/04/2015 – 31/12/2015)

Donor: Save the Children.

Thematic Program: Children Rights Protection Program

Targeted Group: Children.

Introduction:

It can be difficult for adults in their various capacities as parents/professionals, to find alternative ways of bringing up children, espacially in context where physical and humiliating punishment is a social norm.

The Positive Discipline project was concieved in 2006, as a way to help NGO staff answer the question, “If I don’t hit my child, what do I do?” It quickly grown into a global initiative to support parents in thier efforts to abandon physical and emotional punishment, and to uphold their chidren’s rights ti protection and participation.

This growth has been fuelled by the passion of many people in many countries who have recognized and embraced the universal message in this program. Though the submission of this project, the Palestinian Center for Democracy and Conflict Resolution will target parents aiming ti provide them with alternative ways through the implentation of Positive Discipline sessions. The project is an expansion of previous work that PCDCR did before with Save the Children.

Main Objective: To contibute to eliminating corporal/physical punishment and all other cruel or degrading punishment of children through promotion of positive discipline in Gaza Strip.

Specific Objectives:

  • To provide appropriate and effective alternative methods for physical and emotional punishment.
  • To develop the capacities of parents in childbearing practices.

Activities:

  • Conduct 32 PD groups with parents.
  • Conduct 32 follow up sessions with parents.

Response to psychosocial distress and violence agianst children in post emergency in Gaza Strip

Project Title: Response to psychosocial distress and violence agianst children in post emergency in Gaza Strip.

Implentation Period: 6 months (18/09/2015 – 18/03/2016)

Donor: UNICEF

Thematic Program: Children Rights Protection Program

Targeted Group: Children

Introduction:

Palestinians in Gaza face serious protection threats including threats to life, liberty and security, destruction of homes, restrictions on freedom of movement, and access to livelihoods.

The impacts of violence and conflict on childen hinders the enjoyment of their rights, normal development, and affects their psychosocial wellbieng. PCDCR in partnership with UNICEF reached 35.000 children and 8.000 caregivers in Gaza through emergency psychosocial interventions in 2014 and 2015. However so far, the CPWG and MHPSS working group report that only about 65,000 out of the 373.000 children in need of focused/structured PSS were reached. PCDCR proposes to target a further 55,000 children with interventions.

PCDCR have also participated in the CPWG’s contingency planning and emergency preparedness efforts, and propose to expand its cooperation, field presense and extensive networks to support emergency resopnse coordination in all Governates.

Finally, both Multi Cluster Initial Rapid Assessment “MIRA” and the Child protection Rapid assessment “CPRA” have identified corpotal punishment as a key concern in Gaza, undermining their recovery.

Activities:

  • Resilience building sessions.
  • Individual counseling.
  • Emergency visits.
  • Group counseling visits.
  • Open days.
  • Big brother approach.
  • Positive discipline sessions.

Improved access to protection and health services for children woth chronic diseases and disabilities in Gaza

Project Title: Improved access to protection and health services for children woth chronic diseases and disabilities in Gaza.

Implementation Period: 15 months (01/12/2015 – 28/02/2017)

Donor: Save the Children.

Thematic Program: Children Rights Protection Program

Targeted Group: Children.

Introduction:

Many Palestinians children are affected by extraordinary violence, caused by armed conflict and non conflict based violence at home and in school and the wider community. Israeli house demolitions, military incursions, night researches, harassment at chechpoints, settler attacks, along with school and comunity violence compound the distress of children and families, creating a situation which is persistently undermining the resilience and wellbeing of population.

Palestinian children are severaly affected by the conflict -especially in terms of accessing their right to suitable education and their rights to protection from physical and psychosocial harm. Children in nearly a third of all families experience anixiety the long term physical, emotional and social wellbeing of children.

Main Objective: Enhanced resilience and reduced protection and health risks for the most vulnrable boys and girls in Gaza Strip.

Specific Objectives:

  • Increased use of quality protective learning enviroment by boys and girls.
  • Improved wellbeing for boys and girls affected by psychosocial and child protection issues.
  • Enhanced psychosocial wellbeing and coping of targeted children and their families in Gaza.
  • Children and their families have increased awareness child rights and ways of reporting child rights abuses.

Activities:

  • Conduct 6 mobilization meetings for 6 committees in the targeted communities.
  • Conduct 30 training days for 6 children committees.
  • Conduct 6 child led initiatives.
  • Conduct 60 child resilience workshops for children, targeted 720 children.
  • Conduct 40 child resilience workshops for parents, targeted 600 parents.
  • Conduct 6 summer camps.
  • Conduct 2 training groups for partners social workers on gender sensitive, CYR and SYSM.
  • Conduct referral/services for specific protection cases.
  • Conduct awareness sessions/community based protection and referral system.
  • Conduct 60 sessions UXO/MRE sessions with 900 children.

 

Promotion and Improvment of Housing, Land and Property (HLP) Rights for Women in the Gaza Strip

Project title: Promotion and Improvment of Housing, Land and Property (HLP) Rights for Women in the Gaza Strip.

Implementation Period: 12 months (01/01/2015 – 31/12/2015)

Donor: NRC

Thematic Program: Woman Support and Empowerment Program

Introduction:

According to research on women’s HLP rights recently undertaken by NRC, women are frequently knowledgeable about their rights to inheritance and wish to claim their rights, but the consequences for doing so may be too high. Women face being cut off from their families and this can be a major deterrent to claiming their rights as well as a major cause of personal and social friction and division. As a result, this project will particularly focus on targeting men through information sessions in relation to women’s HLP rights to better understand women’s rights as part of community rights that both the Shari’a law and Palestinian law gives women and men HLP rights equally.

Main Objective: To contibute to promoting women’s housing, land and property (HLP) rights in Gaza Strip.

Project Objective: To enhance the protection of the rights of women and vulnerable communities in Gaza Strip (HLP) through improved access, information, legal services and advocacy in relation to their HLP rights and by advancing the role of civil society in monitoring HLP issues.

Targeted Groups:

  • 500 Palestinians (350 women and 150 men) in vulnerable communities in Gaza Strip, will receive legal information on women’s HLP rights.
  • 270 women will recieve legal assistance, including legal counselling and/or representation, from PCDCR before traditional, administrative and judicial authorities in Gaza.
  • 50 traditional community leaders will receive legal training focus on meditation and arbiration
  • Family members and communities of the targeted groups.

Activities:

  • Provision of legal assistance including counselling and/or representation for 270 women facing challenges in accessing HLP rights before traditional, administrative and judicial bodies.
  • Provision of 30 legal information sessions on HLP rights to gassroots organisations targeting 500 persons (350 women and 150 men) in vulnerable communities.
  • Provision of three legal trainings on women’s HLP rights targeting for 50 female mukhtars.
  • Coordination of legal aid service providers through the Lagal Task Force in Gaza.
  • Organisation of 6 bi-monthly information sharing workshops for affected women on HLP issues to exchange experience.
  • Organisation of 4 quarterly policy days on women’s HLP issues with the local authorities, UN/INGOs and civil society.
  • Media and advocacy intiatives to raise awareness and knowledge of women’s HLP issues through five radio episodes and other media outlets.

Towards a Society Free of Violence Against Women

Project title: Towards a Society Free of Violence Against Women

Implentation Period: 2014 – 2015

Donor: Norwegian People’s Aid

Thematic Program: Woman Support and Empowerment Program

Activities:

  • Four units for counseling, psychotherapy and legal aid available to Palestinian women in Gaza and West Bank.
  • 240 of groups therapy sessions held targeting victimized women in GS.
  • Six point of intervention established/functioned in GS/WB.
  • Five family forum places available for enabling sperated women to see their children in a friendly enviroment.
  • 120 workshops targeting both men and women increasing their awarness on the context of VAW in addition to women rights.
  • Advanced training course For PCDCR counseler in GS for further human recourses’ invesment for the benefit of women victims of violence.
  • Activation of the advocacy campaign entitled “Preserving the rights of Palestinian women to live”.
  • Carrying out research in GS exploring the reality of murdering women over the last five years, number of killed women in general, and how many of killed women on the backgorund of honor).
  • 16 early days campaigns “several joined activities with Al-Amal coalition and other partners like demonstrations, festivals, …etc”

Preparedness Makes a Difference””

” Preparedness Makes a Difference” a workshop was held by the Palestinian Center for Democracy and Conflict Resolution (PCDCR), Khan Younis branch, to present “Partnership for Community led Actions for Resilience and Livelihood” project’s achievements. This project aimed to improve the weak and local community capacities through reinforcing risk confrontation’s procedures.

The first session addressed the detailed and most important achievements of the target groups of the project as (children, psychologists, and parents) and of the topics of the sessions such as (Psychological Resilience, and the Risk of Explosive Remnants of War and How to Deal with Them). Moreover, six local committees composed of some local organizations and activists were presented in the session. To illustrate, these committees represented six areas targeted in the project (Absan Al-Kabira, Rafah, Al-Shouka, Al-Shujayia, Jabalia, Beit Lahia) and they have been trained on several topics such as First Aid ,and Emergency Management. A series of meetings were held with the constituted committees to identify the needs of the target areas before danger which were created based on the focus groups implemented in the project.

The second session presented plans for the risk reduction for each area which were composed by the local committees that work in the target areas. In addition, the session discussed intervene and confrontation procedures.

At the beginning of the workshop, Mr. Saeed Al-Maqadma, PCDCR’s General Director, delivered a speech explaining the importance of partnership and he welcomed all partners: Save Children Organization , Palestinian Agriculture Relief Committee (PARC), and Palestinian Medical Relief Society. Al-Maqadma emphasized the importance of local committees as they are considered essential parts of the project.

Mr. Ibrahim Sbaih, the representative of the Save Children Organization, stressed the importance of committees’ role in achieving the project success and he thanked all partners for their efforts in achieving the project success. Ms. Shorouq Jendia gave a talk – on behalf of PARC- explaining the project achievements and its role in improving the marginalized families’ financial situation.

At the end, the participants represented their recommendations and proposals to upgrade the project in the coming phase of the project.

PCDCR Organizes a Seminar about “Legal Study on the Housing Projects as an Equal Exchange for Gaza Government’s Employees”

The Palestinian Center for Democracy and Conflict Resolution (PCDCR) organized a seminar about “Legal Study on the Housing Projects as an Equal Exchange for Gaza Government’s Employees”.   Different work papers related to the main topic of the seminar had been submitted by significant figures who participated in this seminar such as Secretary General of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Mr. Nafith El-Madhoun , Legal Advisor Mr. Abdul Karim Shabbir , head of Land Authority Ibrahim Radwan , vice-president of the Palestinian  Bar  Association Salama Bseiso ,and  vice-president of land authority Hassan Abu Riala”.  A group of lawyers, counselors, dignitaries, and mayors had attended the seminar, too.

Yunis Al-Tahrawy, the coordinator of “Toward a More Responsive Justice System in the Gaza Strip (Estijaba)” project  which is funded by UNDP, indicated that this event is a part of the project activities. Al-Tahrawy mentioned that the subject of this seminar came up from the proposal which was supposed to be submitted to the Gazan government, about establishing housing projects for government employees as an equal exchange for their dues.

Al- Tahrawy stated that organizing this workshop is one of our responsibilities to find out how far this proposal could be compatible with the provision of law. Additionally, he added that this workshop is held with such specialists to conduct a legal study for the proposal.

Important recommendations were the outcome of this productive seminar; the legal affairs unit in PCDCR will organize another meeting to follow up  this matter with both  the Land Authority and the concerned authorities in the coming days.

The secretary-general of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Nafith El-Madhoun pointed out that the housing project is under progress since the 90s, stressing that the employees who have been serving out for ten years have the right to have a house as provided in Basic Law, article 26 ” Having an appropriate house is a right to every citizen and the Palestinian Authority  seeks to  provide a house to those who have not a house to live in. El-Madhoun explained that the project will not target the fixed income employees or private sector employees, but the process is dealing with the lands regarding the price of each meter of land. the owner of the given land has the right to sell his land like any private land, which will be not considered as a waste of the government funds.

For equality insurance between the government employees and the citizens, the secretary -general of the Palestinian Legislative Council declared that land parceling will be under the responsibility  of the head of Land Authority, and the Legislative Council’s role is restricted to overseeing the parceling process. The only difference between employees and citizens will be in payment only.

The legal advisor, Abdul Karim Shubir, acknowledged that land parceling is illegal as the only one who can give permission to privatize lands is the President Mahmoud Abbas, and there is a decree provides for that the lands of the government are given away only through a concerned committee. This committee is composed by several ministries, with the authorization of the president himself, explaining that selling the lands to employees for free-market prices will not serve the citizens.

Ibrahim Radwan stated that “there is a misconception about parceling of lands, resenting the way of dealing with the issue”. He added, “we had not any plan regarding  land parceling, but we had accredited plans from the legal system  regarding the housing project from 1994 till 2011 with the underlie on housing associations“. “In my point of view, the big dilemma of salaries is a crime against humanity, and we are trying with these housing projects to alleviate the problem which could not be solved completely”, Radwan said.  Also, he affirmed that he has the ability to manage this process by sealing on the act on behalf of the president, highlighting that the issue will be under study until it can  be addressed in front of the court.

The former general deputy of lawyers, and a member of the Arab Lawyers Union ,Mr. Salama Bseiso blamed the political division for all the faced difficulties, and a lot of serious problems will come out after executing the plan of land parceling, like how to deal with the dues of the employees that will come after taking  his prior dues which are before 2016.  With condemning that the housing units will not  be sufficient to the employees’ needs and living expenses.  Bseiso said that if  these projects  will include also citizens as stipulated by the law of 1994, this will be fine.

 

The vice-president of Land Authority, Hassan Abu Ryala, believed that the project will not reset employees’ dues, and that housing projects are not governed by law but is governed by a verdict. He also mentioned that “there is not any land registered by the name of the president, but by the name of the Palestinian Authority, and that those who are willing to register and have the Palestinian citizenship, they have the right to apply for the project, and there is no one will be rejected even the employees who refrain from work “. Abu Riala said that “the Higher Committee will run the project until the problem is resolved”.

At the end of the meeting, different questions were directed to the head of the Land Authority, his deputy, the representative of the Palestinian Legislative Council, lawyers, and specialists. The answers of the question were that the president approved the housing  projects, and the project is not obligatory for all the employees, as it is not an adhesion contract, and it will not substitute the full dues of the employees.

 

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A Workshop entitled ” The Role of Reconciliation Figures in Strengthening Juvenile Justice in Gaza Strip”

The Palestinian Centre for Democracy and Conflict Resolution (PCDCR) held a workshop entitled “The Role of Reconciliation Figures in Strengthening Juvenile Justice in the Gaza Strip”. This workshop was a part of Juvenile Justice’s project activities funded by Terre Des Hommes and it aimed to provide legal and social services for the Juveniles who are in conflict with the law.

The Workshop discussed a worksheet by Mr. Mohammed Anaba about “The Role of Reconciliation Committees in dealing with juvenile cases. In addition, a worksheet was introduced by Mr. Younis Al-Tahrawi, PCDCR’s Legal Unit’s Coordinator, and it was about the restorative justice and the necessity of its implementation.

A number of recommendation were proposed through the discussion which included the followings:

  • Activating the role of reconciliation figures to prevent children from committing a crime by monitoring their actions and addressing the reasons that can lead them to commit crimes such as poverty, and lack of suitable house.
  • Intensifying the responsibility of the Palestinian state in caring about the juveniles cases in all life-oriented economic, social, and cultural.
  • Taking into account the balance of forces between the conflicting parties by the reconciliation figures while the restorative process.
  • Having a better and essential communication between the police man and the reconciliation figure when receiving any complain in order to prevent any acceleration in the problem.
  • Considering the juvenile as a society victim which meant that he should not be sentenced to imprisonment or penalty. Therefore, it is enough to put the juvenile under the monitoring of a good member in his family. In the case of absence of this kind of family member, juvenile can be put under the monitoring of a probation officer in Al-Rabea’ Association.
  • Reforming the juvenile’s laws in order to consist with modernity and development and to treat the juvenile as a victim rather than a criminal according to law.
  • Dealing with juveniles should be different from dealing with adults and juveniles should had a special uniform in Al-Rabea’ Assocaition.
  • The necessity of having a special police for juveniles in Gaza Strip which should have the skills and knowledge in dealing with juveniles. The policemen should not wear their formal uniform.
  • Establishing entertainment places for children to spend their free time for their own benefit and to prevent them from committing crimes.
  • Developing reconciliation figures’ skills in dealing with juveniles through training and having better knowledge about the law.
  • Proving a social assurance to the head of the family to provide the basic needs to his/her family.
  • Providing awareness projects to the parents about their roles in protecting their children and preventing them from committing crimes. In addition, to activating reconciliation figures role in disseminating the culture of tolerance and good manners.
  • Separating juveniles from adults while detaining them and judging should be done quickly to protect our children from committing crimes.

Declaration of Position Paper about Improving a Protective Environment for Children From Sexual Abuse

A workshop was held by the Palestinian Centre for Democracy and Conflict Resolutions (PCDCR) to declare a Position Paper about improving a protective environment for children from sexual abuse

Saed al-Maqadma, PCDCR’s Director General, explained that child sexual abuse grossly violates child rights and it is considered as  a grave crime. Most children and families don’t report any of the abuse cases for fear of disgrace and they distrust the authorities. As a result, PCDCR is worried about the increase of child sexual abuse cases.

Project’s achievement presented the presence of more than 1017 children have been harassed sexually. However, the project targeted solely the north and the south governorates. The project included many activities, workshops and round tables implemented with directly relevant bodies such as: Police, the Public Prosecution, Judiciary, Forensic Medicine, and Civil Society Organizations.

Based on the Position Paper presented to the PM Ramy al-Hamdallah by PCDCR, a petition was formed to collect the largest number of signatures on the field and electronic sides. The petition calls for:

  • Expediting the Palestinian Penal Code of 2003 draft approval according to the international standards of human and child rights with some necessary changes to increase deterrence in sexual crimes.
  • Establishing especial courts with a specialized prosecutor and judiciary to concern about these sexual crimes in order to protect sexual abuse victims all over the country.
  • Establishing safe homes for sexual abuse victims especially when the perpetrator belong to the same family or the victim family is disjoined and does not provide him/her a supportive environment.
  • Establishing rehabilitation centers to rehabilitate the  perpetrators psychologically and socially after their sentence expiration.
  • Assigning a sufficient number of Forensic Physicians and training them to be qualified, in addition to rehabilitate central criminal laboratories.
  • Strengthening enrichment activities for children to raise awareness about sexual abuse, and to push the Ministry of Education into enhancing the role of the consolers and principals in such issues.
  • Constituting a commission committee to look for the reasons behind the closure of the child sexual abuse issues.

 

It’s notable to mention that this workshop was a part of ” a Protective Environment for Children from Sexual Abuse” project’s activities to protect children from sexual abuse by using community protection mechanisms.