On Monday, 3 September 2018, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights held a workshop for Palestinian fishermen to raise awareness of the obligation to protect civilians under international humanitarian law (IHL). 30 fishermen from the Middle Area district were nominated by the Syndicate of Fishermen to participate in the workshop.
Ms. Noha Abu Thareefa, a lawyer at Al Mezan and a member of its Training and Mass Communications Unit, welcomed the attendees and the introduced the subject material.
Ms. Abu Thareefa discussed the difficult economic situation faced by the fishing community due to the Israeli government’s severe restrictions on the fishing zone and ongoing attacks against fishermen in Palestinian territorial waters. The attendees learned about the relevant provisions for their protection under IHL, primarily the Fourth Geneva Convention. Throughout the workshop the participants reflected on the various Israeli violations to which they are subject on a regular basis.
“Regulations have been set forth in IHL to ensure the policies and practices of an Occupying Power afford civilians their due protection,” Ms. Abu Thareefa said. “Accountability can be pursued in an effort to end breaches of a State’s obligations, including through the various mechanisms of the United Nations. Al Mezan continues to pursue accountability of Israeli perpetuators of serious breaches of the laws of war and, for example, to secure the return of boats and fishing equipment seized or confiscated by Israeli forces.”
At the end of the workshop, Mr. Mohammed Al-Da’alisa, Al Mezan’s field worker in the Middle Area, presented Al Mezan’s work to monitor and document violations and provide legal aid.
The workshop is part of Al Mezan’s efforts to promote IHL and human rights in Gaza and is supported by Diakonia through the joint project “Enhancing International Humanitarian Law in the Gaza Strip”.