On Tuesday 15 March 2011, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights organized a meeting under Face the Public Program.
The Meeting raised the problem faced by fishermen in An-Nuseirat Refugee Camp, who have many needs and problems that require solutions.
Basem Abu Jrai, Al Mezan's field worker in Middle-Gaza district and meeting facilitator, opened the meeting by welcoming the audience and thanking them for coming.
Abu Jrai asserted the continuous role of Al Mezan in following up citizens' problems, particularly problems related to economic, social and cultural rights.
He said that Al Mezan raises these issues through its 'Face the Public Program'.
, which brings officials and legislators to meet with people and render them directly accountable for them.
Abu Jrai said that the meeting was organized after Al Mezan received complaints from Palestinian fishermen.
The fishermen's complaints represent the absence of minimum needs to practice fishing off the coast of the refugee camp and adjacent villages.
There are about 130 fishermen in the camp and adjacent villages.
More than seven hasakas (small boats) and 21 bigger hasakas are anchored in the fishery haven at An-Nuseirat refugee camp.
The port lacks space, refrigeration facilities, a fresh water supply, electricity, and nets.
In addition, access to the port is not paved.
Fishermen also suffer problems obtaining fishing licenses from the authorities.
Fishermen are subject to indiscriminate Israeli attacks, arrests, and confiscation of their boats.
Israeli violations of Palestinian fishermen's rights increase their suffering and hardship.
Mohammed Yousif Abu Ishkiyan, the Mayor of An-Nuseirat, was present and thanked Al Mezan for organizing the meeting.
He talked about projects implemented by the municipality in the past months aimed at developing the camp and asserted his full readiness to help the fishermen.
He said that he would listen to their complaints and work on improving the situation.
He promised the fishermen that the municipality would send a letter to the Land Authority requesting a piece of land near the coast on which to locate a new fishery haven.
He added if government-owned land is available, he would send engineers to lay the ground for creating a new haven.
He said that there was difficulty in sending bulldozers and equipment to the current haven.
Engineer Adel Attallah, the Director of the government’s Fishery Department, said that fishermen were free to practice fishing as long as they were to be fishermen by others.
He added that criteria as to who could obtain a fishing license had been determined.
He also said some fishermen had been denied fishing licenses and had filed complaints at the Fishery Association.
He stated that their complaints had been dealt with and they had been issued with licenses.
In his word, he also said that the current haven had been ‘unlawfully erected’ near the Gaza Valley watercourse.
An agreement was reached to move it to a new location located 500 meters away.
Attallah asserted that several charitable organizations provided the money to build a new haven and that as soon as a new location for the port is determined, it will be built immediately.
Nizar Ayyash, Chairman of the Fishermen Syndicate, said that fishermen experience continuous Israeli violations and that the fishermen also suffer internal problems related to the location of the current haven, which was built in 2007.
He asserted that there were ongoing direct communications with the An-Nuseirat municipality to decide on a piece of land to build a new haven.
The attendees asked questions and called for solutions to be found to the problems.
At the end of the meeting, Abu Jrai asserted that Al Mezan would follow up the problem with the municipality and Land Authority to find a solution soon.