As part of its continuous activities to enhance international humanitarian law (IHL), on Wednesday, 23 November 2011, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights held a workshop entitled “IHL and Protection of Civilians”, at the Lanterna restaurant in Gaza City.
Mrs Shirin Ash-Shobaki, Training and Mass Communication Unit Coordinator at Al Mezan, and Mr Kamal Murtaja, head of public relations at Al Azhar University, opened the workshop by welcoming the 22 participants, all academics from Al Azhar and Palestine Universities.
Mrs Ash-Shobaki thanked the public relations departments at the two universities for their continuous cooperation.
She presented the importance of recognizing IHL by academics and it becoming a subject taught at Palestinian universities.
She stressed the importance of civilians understanding IHL in light of the systematic and grave violations of IHL in the Gaza Strip committed by Israel, and that this is the reason why Al Mezan continues to promote understanding of IHL and building the capacities of academics.
Mrs Ash-Shobaki also talked about the importance of understanding the relationship between human rights law and IHL and the ability to differentiate between the two.
Mrs Ash-Shobaki presented a summary of Al Mezan’s work and mission.
She also presented the schedule of the workshop and its aim to develop the skills and knowledge of academics in IHL and protection of civilians.
She emphasized the importance of making good use of their newly acquired knowledge in a way that promotes the right to education and free access to information to all university students.
Mr Kamal Murtaja thanked Al Mezan for its continuous efforts to develop a culture of human rights and IHL.
He emphasized the importance of committing to the workshop as it would strengthen the participants ability to implement the educational mission of their universities.
He also emphasized the important role of academics in creating a tolerant and open-minded generation.
This workshop constitutes one component of the “Promotion of IHL and ESCR [economic, social and cultural rights] by Education” project, implemented by Al Mezan in cooperation with Diakonia.
This project aims to raise awareness of IHL among the Palestinian community in Gaza in general.