On Monday 4 June 2012, the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights opened a training course entitled “Mechanisms of Monitoring and Documenting Violations of Women’s Rights under International Humanitarian Law [IHL] and Human Rights Law,” held at Carinos restaurant in Gaza City.
The course is part of a project seeking to protect women in situations of armed conflict in the Arab region and is funded by the Open Society Institute.
The project aims to disseminate and promote a culture of human rights and knowledge of IHL, and particularly the rights of women.
It also aims to enhance the capacity of organizations serving women to monitor and document violations of women’s rights in armed conflicts.
Shirin Ash-Shobaki, coordinator of the training and mass communication unit at Al Mezan, opened the course by welcoming the 31 participants.
She noted the importance of understanding IHL and human rights law for all sectors of Palestinian society, particularly the need for familiarity with laws relevant to armed conflict in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).
She also discussed the legal status of the Gaza Strip, particularly after Israel’s unilateral “disengagement” in September 2005 and its declaration that Gaza is a “hostile entity,” alongside Israel’s refusal to implement the Fourth Geneva Convention in the oPt regardless of the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice and all experts in international law.
She also discussed the recent Israeli aggression against Gaza (Operation Cast Lead) and its other gross and systematic violations of IHL.
All these circumstances create a need for capacity-building among those concerned with IHL.
Ash-Shobaki explained the significance of the course for those working in the field of women’s services, where it is important to recognize the need for monitoring and documentation of abuses under IHL and international human rights law.
Ash-Shobaki then presented the course schedule and described its overall aim of developing the skills and knowledge of those working in the field of women’s protection with respect to IHL, human rights, and mechanisms for monitoring and documenting abuses.
The course consists of 24 training hours to be delivered over four days.
Participants will be given a general introduction to the historic and legal framework of IHL and international human rights law; their substantive content; the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; and mechanisms for monitoring and documenting violations of human rights and IHL.