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UNITED
NATIONS
E

        Economic and Social Council
Distr.
GENERAL
E/C.2/2009/2/Add.5
24 September 2008

Original: English

Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations
2009 regular session
19-28 January 2009




Quadrennial reports of the period 2004-2007 submitted by non-governmental organizations
in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council through the Secretary-General
pursuant to Council resolution 1996/31 *







* Reports submitted by non-governmental organizations are issued without formal editing.


1. Al-Haq

(Special; 2000)

Part I. Introduction

i. Al-Haq is a Palestinian human rights organization located in Ramallah, West Bank. The organization was established in 1979 to protect and promote human rights and the rule of law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Al-Haq is committed to the uniform application of the universal principles of human rights regardless of the identity of the perpetrator or victim of abuse. In order to meet these goals, the organization:

• Conducts and disseminates legal and field research based on international human rights and humanitarian law;

• Monitors and documents human rights violations through an extensive database;

• Houses the only public library specialized in human rights in the West Bank; and

• Provides training on international humanitarian law.

Through these activities, Al-Haq strives to bring to an end abuses committed by Israeli and Palestinian authorities. In addition, through the reinforcement of the rule of law and the promotion of international legal standards, the organization contributes to the development of a transparent and democratic civil society in Palestine.

ii. There have been no changes within the organization since the last report.

Part II – Contribution of the organization to the work of the United Nations

i. Participation in the work of Economic and Social Council and its subsidiary bodies, major conferences and other United Nations meetings

Al-Haq has participated in a range of meetings before various United Nations fora, including regular meetings such as those of the former Commission on Human Rights and the newly created Human Rights Council. A few examples of Al-Haq’s participation and what was achieved through this participation are below:

1) Fourth Regular Session of the Human Rights Council, 12-30 March 2007, Geneva Switzerland.

During the Fourth Regular Session of the Human Rights Council, Al-Haq prepared the following joint written interventions with nine other Palestinian NGOs: 1) “Above the law: Israel’s impunity for violations of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory” and 2) “Forty years of increasing facts on the ground: New actions urgently required by the Human Rights Council to prevent the preclusion of the Palestinian right to self-determination.” Additionally, Al-Haq delivered a joint oral intervention (with the International Federation for Human Rights and the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights – both in Special Consultative Status) on 23 March in relation to the report delivered on 22 March by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 (Mr. John Dugard).

The written and oral interventions delivered by Al-Haq during the Fourth Regular Session of the Human Rights Council are an example of the primary means through which Al-Haq participates in the work of the United Nations. Other activities that Al-Haq carried out while attending the Fourth Regular Session of the Human Rights Council which are representative of the kind of work Al-Haq usually carries out while attending sessions of the Human Rights Council included: a meeting with the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism in anticipation of the Special Rapporteur’s forthcoming visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory; and meetings with Geneva-based NGOs which are regularly present at the Human Rights Council in order to learn about the latest developments in relation to the refinement of the Human Rights Council’s working methods, possibilities for NGO participation and the review and rationalization of Special Procedures mandates. The latter meetings and the information provided therein assisted Al-Haq to be able to engage in relation to these developments at a later stage.

2) Fifth Regular Session of the Human Rights Council, 11-18 June 2007, Geneva, Switzerland.

Al-Haq hosted a parallel event (13 June 2007) at the Human Rights Council titled: “Forty Years of Israeli Occupation of the Palestinian Territory: An Assessment of the Facts on the Ground.” This event gave Al-Haq the opportunity to highlight one of its key advocacy priorities during 2007 – raising awareness about the human rights violations that have emanated from 40 years of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territory. Al-Haq hopes to hold more such parallel events in the future as it is a good opportunity to reach constituencies Al-Haq hosted a parallel event (13 June 2007) at the Human Rights Council titled: “Forty Years of Israeli Occupation of the Palestinian Territory: An Assessment of the Facts on the Ground.” This event gave Al-Haq the opportunity to highlight one of its key advocacy priorities during 2007 – raising awareness about the human rights violations that have emanated from 40 years of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territory. Al-Haq hopes to hold more such parallel events in the future as it is a good opportunity to reach constituencies to whom we do not normally have access.

These examples are indicative of the work Al-Haq endeavoured to do when it had the opportunity to attend Human Rights Council/Human Rights Commission sessions from 2004 to 2007.

ii. Cooperation with United Nations bodies and/or specialized agencies in the field and/or at Headquarters

Al-Haq also cooperated with United Nations committees and other bodies, in particular, the United Nations Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Specific cooperation included:

1) The Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People, 25 May – 8 June 2004, Cairo, Egypt. Al-Haq sent one of its field workers to provide oral testimony concerning human rights violations committed by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
2) The Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People, 25 June – 9 July 2005, Amman, Jordan. Al-Haq sent one of its field workers to provide oral testimony concerning human rights violations committed by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
3) Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, 69th Session, 31 July-18 August 2006, Geneva, Switzerland. Al-Haq participated in the submission of a joint parallel report to Israel’s 13 th periodic report to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination entitled “Israel’s Implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination: Institutional Discrimination affecting persons without “Jewish Nationality”.

4) On 2-3 August 2006 (same session as above), Al-Haq participated in joint Israeli/Palestinian NGO presentation before the Committee in relation to Israel’s 13 th periodic report to the 69th Session of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination which was postponed to the Committee’s 70 th Session 19 February-9 March 2007. There was no overall title to the presentation before the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, but Al-Haq’s contribution focused on the following issues: discrimination in relation to freedom of movement (including the permit system, the Wall and the separate road system) in the West Bank; the discriminatory Israeli policy on family unification; discriminatory physical and administrative measures in East Jerusalem; and discriminatory measures in the West Bank city of Hebron, including in relation to the seam zone and the separation barrier. Al-Haq would like to use this as an example of the type of expected achievement that is the result of its cooperation with United Nations bodies. The process of preparing for the review of Israel under the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination was very beneficial from the point of view of presenting an opportunity for Israeli, Palestinian and international human rights organizations to work together on common advocacy. This was viewe d as a highly successful collaborative process by all that should be modelled for the review of Israel under successive human rights treaty bodies.

5) Human Rights Committee, 89 th Session, 12-30 March 2007, United Nations Headquarters, New York, Al-Haq prepared written comments on the Human Rights Committee’s draft General Comment No. 14 concerning “equality before courts and tribunals and to a fair trial”.

6) The Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People, 21 July – 4 August 2007, Amman, Jordan. Al-Haq sent one of its field workers to provide oral testimony concerning human rights violations committed by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
In addition, Al-Haq regularly submits letters and provides information to various United Nations officials such as the Secretary-General, High Commissioner for Human Rights, Special Representative to the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict, Human Rights Council President, United Nations Coordinator of the Middle East Peace Process and bodies, such as Security Council, the General Assembly, and the Special Procedures of the Commission on Human Rights/Human Rights Council. Such interventions are frequently in response to changing events on the ground.

iii. Initiatives undertaken by the organization in support of the internationally agreed development goals, in particular, the Millennium Development Goals, which now form the basis of the global agenda for the 21 st century

(a) and (b) Activities in line with the Millennium Development Goals and Activities in Support of Global Principles

As an organization seeking to promote and protect human rights and rule of law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, much of Al-Haq’s work serves to support the Millennium Development Goals and Global Principles. United Nations human rights treaties and the principles enshrined in them are the primary foundations of Al-Haq’s work, as are key General Assembly and Security Council resolutions. While it is difficult to isolate particular activities Al-Haq undertakes in support of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, our documentation and advocacy work encompasses the implementation of certain of the Millennium Development Goals in relation to the Occupied Palestinian Territory (i.e., the eradication of poverty and hunger, achievement of universal primary education, reduction of child mortality, improvement of maternal health, and ensuring environmental sustainability).

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