On 11 December 2017, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights held an awareness-raising session for student parliamentarians and parents in Gaza. The session was held at Hafsa School in Jabalia refugee camp in North Gaza to mark Human Rights Day. The session was titled “Equality and Non-discrimination in International Conventions and Local Laws” and was attended by around 30 female members of the School’s parliament, a number of their parents, and the school’s principal, counselor, and human rights teacher, as well as by Al Mezan’s lawyer, Alaa Al Skafi.
Staff from Al Mezan and the Hafsa School exchanged inaugural remarks of the importance of their collaboration to promote human rights. Al Skafi introduced attendees to the work of Al Mezan and its role in protecting and promoting human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory. “Equality is a basic principle of human rights,” said Al Skafi. “The understanding of equality was foundational to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to other leading international conventions. No society can prosper when it adopts discrimination based on race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”
During his remarks, Al Skafi discussed with attendees the recent announcement by U.S. President Trump in which he declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel. The announcement reflects a violation of international law regarding the occupied Palestinian territory, contradicts the UN perspective on Jerusalem as an issue to be negotiated, and runs counter to Security Council and General Assembly resolutions. The discussion was taken further by students who questioned how to hold Israel accountable for its serious violations of Palestinian’s human rights.
Al Skafi expressed appreciation to the administration of Hafsa School. “Al Mezan’s mission to reach out and promote human rights is enhanced by such collaboration,” he concluded. Al Mezan frequently holds similar activities at UNRWA schools as part of our commitment to raising public awareness of human rights principles.