Country Governance

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Skip Navigation LinksPOGAR > Countries > Country Theme: Human Rights: Occupied Palestinian Territories
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International Conventions

The Palestinian National Authority is not entitled to accede to United Nations Conventions on human rights or to the International Labour Organization related conventions.

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Human Rights Institutions

Several types of institutions are active in the field of human rights in the Palestinian Authority's territories. Some of these organizations are governmental, and some are non-governmental. At the governmental level, a ministry for women's affairs was established in 2003, in addition to the commission of civil organizations affairs. Palestinian Society also has a distinctive national institution, "The Independent Palestinian Body for Citizen Rights" established on September 30, 1993 following the signing of the Oslo Agreement and prior to assumption of power by the National Authority. The establishment of this institution was meant as confirmation of official Palestinian commitment to democratic rule, respect of human rights and the rights of Palestinian citizens. This institution is concerned with reviewing proposed and existing legislation to ensure its compatibility with international principles of human rights and basic freedoms, as well as overseeing the activities of public institutions and organizations to ensure their abidance by the above mentioned principles. This Independent Body monitors the rule of law, receives and examines complaints and grievances. It also raises awareness of human rights and their protection throughout Palestinian society. It publishes an annual report of its activities and on human rights condition in Palestinian territories, as well as special reports whenever events necessitate that. Non-governmental organizations working on human rights are constrained by occupation. Some NGOs coordinate their activities with the National Authority and are supported by it, such as "The Prisoners of War Clubs" and the "Red Crescent Society" that attend to issues of special significance under occupation. Other NGOs operate with general mandate, such as the "Palestinian Center for Human Rights" (1995), "the Rights Organization" (1979), and "Gaza Center for Rights and Law" (1989). Still other NGOs deal with issues pertaining to certain groups such as women's rights, children's rights or legal assistance. Finally, some NGOs work in the area of training on human rights.

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Achievements on the Road to Good Governance

1. Significant achievements took place in Palestine in the year 2006, and early 2007, However Israeli occupation, international intervention and conflict among Palestinian factions had blocked the expected benefits in terms of Human Rights. These achievements were:
a) Termination of Israeli occupation of Gaza Strip that lasted 35 years and evacuation of Israeli settlement. However, Israel kept full control over Gaza's air space, coast and land crossings. Moreover, Israel resumed its armed attacks on Gaza Strip and placed it under an economic siege that deprived the Palestinians from reaping the fruits of the end of occupation.
b) Palestinian Authority's success in conducting fair parliamentary elections on January 25, 2006 after long delay. All political groups, except Islamic Jihad, participated in these elections. A parliamentary quota was allocated to Christians and women. The elections were very transparent in the presence of local and international monitoring. However, the stunning victory of Hamas Movement which is condemned and rejected by Israeli and the United States stood in the way of creating a conducive atmosphere for Human Rights.
2. The elected government attempted to eliminate all manifestations of financial and administrative corruption that were the object of bitter complaints by citizens, however, its attempts were foiled by external and internal political pressures.
3. The most important achievement was signing the Mecca accord between Hamas and Fateh that was sponsored by Saudi Arabia. The accord ended the fighting between the two sides, adopted the principle of resolving disputes, through dialogue, called for forming a national unity government headed by Ismail Haniyya, and reforming the Palestine Liberation Organization. The agreement was welcomed by Palestinians and Arab countries, however, Israel and USA set pre-conditions for dealing with the new governments, while the European Union showed more readiness to do so.

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