Al Mezan Center for Human Rights has been following with great concern the announcements concerning the approval by the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) in Gaza of the bill of the second reading of the Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR).
Al Mezan is concerned by the exceptional concern of the PLC’s Change and Reform Bloc in the ICHR's bill.
The bill is not an urgent one.
Nor does it respond to an emergency situation in Gaza.
ICHR has been working without a specific law since it had been established, as it was established by a presidential decree that provides terms of reference for it.
Coming amid Palestinian internal political split, Al Mezan views this step as a means to control ICHR and to stop its objective work as an ombudsman in the Gaza Strip.
Al Mezan expresses its full solidarity with ICHR and calls on the Gaza Government to halt any procedures that could hinder its work in the Gaza Strip.
ICHR was established in 1993 by a presidential decree.
It started its work in 1995.
Article 31 of the Palestinian Basic Law states that, an [ICHR] shall be established under the law, and the law defines its formation, mission, and competence.
Its reports shall be presented to the President of the Palestinian National Authority and the PLC.
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights reiterates its belief that Palestinian legislations and laws must be protected from the internal split, as the PLC and executive bodies are not working properly.
Al Mezan asserts that any new law issued by the PLC or by means of presidential decrees; i.
by one of the rival parties, will only deepen the Palestinian internal split and impact the legal regime in harmful ways.
Al Mezan reminds of the important role ICHR has played during the last 15 years.
It has been defending Palestinian citizens' rights against the violations of the Palestinian authorities, playing the role of ombudsman.
Al Mezan urges the speaker of the PLC, Mr.
Ahmed Bahar, to shift the focus of the work of the PLC on monitoring the performance of the government and ensuring that it remains accountable, even under such a damaging political split.
Al Mezan reiterates its calls on the Gaza Government to stop hindering the work of the ICHR, and on the divided PLC to stop enacting new legislations under the current situation.
The PLC must put more efforts into observing the Government failures to respect and enhance human rights and to ensure justice and the rule of law in the Gaza Strip.
Therefore, Al Mezan calls on the PLC; especially the Change and Reform Bloc, to postpone the process of enacting any new laws; including that of ICHR, until Palestinian unity is retained and the legitimacy of the Palestinian Authority’s institutions is restored by means of fair and transparent elections.