News & Activites 31 March 2016
The Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR)
A Palestinian national human rights organization, the Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) was established upon a presidential decree issued by the late President Yasser Arafat on September 30, 1993. The decree was later published in the Palestinian National Authority's Official Gazette in 1995. (No. 59/1995)
In accordance with the decree, the duties and responsibilities of ICHR were defined as follows: to follow up on and ensure that the Palestinian laws, by-laws and regulations, and the work of various departments, agencies and institutions of the State of Palestine and the Palestine Liberation Organization meet the requirements for safe guarding human rights."
The presidential decree, however, had left it to the commission to write its own articles of association in a way that ensures its independence and efficiency. The commission began its work at the outset of 1994. Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, the first commissioner general, was actually the brain- child of ICHR and the first driving force behind its establishment.
ICHR defends the rights of the Palestinian citizens and enjoys full membership in the International Coordinating Committee (ICC) of National Human Rights Institutions, a non-UN body whose internal accreditation system grants access to UN committees. Article 31 of the Palestinian Basic Law, ratified by the Palestinian Legislative Council in 1997, and published in the Palestinian National Authority's Official Gazette in 2002, stipulates, "An independent commission for human rights shall be established by law, which will specify its formation, duties and jurisdiction. The commission shall submit its reports to the President of the Palestinian National Authority and the Palestinian Legislative Council." Despite failure to issue and enact the law in question till now, the commission will continue work in compliance with the presidential decree until approval of its law.
Moreover, the commission, in its capacity as a national organization for human rights, and a grievances office, follows up on and ensures that the Palestinian laws and regulations, and the work of the various departments, agencies and institutions of the State of Palestine meet the requirements for safeguarding human rights. The commission's scope of work extends to handling human rights violations and receiving Palestinian citizens' complaints pertained to violations of these rights by the executive authority. Its mandate allows it to engage with international human rights system and conduct public education and awareness programs. This is addition to documentation, monitoring and reporting violations of human rights, and checking extent of their harmony with the international standard pertained to human rights. The commission offers its services to the Palestinian citizens through its offices in the West Bank and Gaza Strip governorates.
ICHR's vision is a free Palestinian society with inherent values of justice, equality, freedom and human rights.
ICHR's mission is to protect, and consolidate human rights in Palestine and disseminate a culture of human rights and concepts in accordance with the Palestinian Basic Law and the international standards for human rights, without indivisibility or diminishing of their universality, to make that culture part and parcel of the fabric of the value system of the Palestinian culture.
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