Palestine

Graphic: ICHR staff meeting with prisoners


Palestine Independent Commission for Human Rights Full Member since 2004

Behind the Palestinian Legislative Council
P.O. Box 2264
Ramallah
Palestine
P: +972 2 298 7536 F: +972 2 298 7211 W: www.ichr.ps


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APF membership

2004 (8th Annual Meeting)

Establishment

The Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) was established on 30 September 1993, upon a Presidential Decree issued by President Yasser Arafat. The Decree was subsequently published in the Official Gazette (No. 59/1995).

In addition to the Presidential Decree, Article 31 of the Basic Law of Palestine, voted by the Palestinian Legislative Council on 2 October 1997, provided: "An independent commission for human rights shall be established by law, which will specify its formation, duties and jurisdiction. The Commission shall submit its reports to the President of the National Authority, and to the Palestinian Legislative Council."

Role and functions

The ICHR's responsibilities and duties as outlined in its internal by-laws are to:

  • To review and comment on proposed and effective legislation including the Basic Law, by laws, and regulations, to ensure that they conform to universal principles of human rights; that they are committed to the basic freedoms of citizenry – singly and collectively; that they adopt the principles of non-discrimination, family or regional status; and that they adhere to the principles of democracy and justice.

The Commission is also empowered to propose new legislation or suggest amendments to existing legislation, and to take initiatives in this area if it perceives omissions or whenever necessary. The Commission also shall be empowered to recommend the formation or development of efficient structures and instruments which are consistent with the objectives of the Commission.

  • To monitor and follow up the activities of official and semi-official public bodies and institutions and all legal persons and those dealing with public law matters to ensure executive and administrative commitment to and implementation of the principles stated above, and to ensure the rule of law and its just implementation in all the spheres of work of the bodies and institutions subject to the Authority.

In this area as well, the Commission has the authority to take the initiative in cases of injustice or wrong doing or to prevent such occurrences.

  • To receive complaints and grievances after [the exhaustion of] all available means of redress, and investigate and follow up such cases with the concerned parties and to propose the appropriate remedy.
  • To publish an annual report of its general activities, in addition to special reports when deemed necessary.
  • To propagate legal awareness and to acquaint citizens of their rights and the means of safeguarding them.

The Commission shall enjoy the status of a legal person by law with the right to resort to the courts where the public interest is involved.

Board of Commissioners

Mamdouh Aker
Commissioner General

Ahmed Harb

Shawkat Dallal

Mohammad Mei'ari

Iyad Sarraj

Azmi Shu'aibi

Mahmoud Atshan

Taghreed Jahshan

Fouad Al-Moughrabi

Naseer Arouri

Hanan Ashrawi

Varsen Shaheen

Eugene Cotran

Rawia Shawa

Camille Mansour

Raja Shehadeh

Mohammad Hallaj


Bare Facts: Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights

Palestine

An information sheet with key details about the role, functions and accreditation status of the Commission.


Legal framework

The Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) was established on 30 September 1993, upon a Presidential Decree issued by President Yasser Arafat, in his capacity as President of the State of Palestine and Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

The Decree was subsequently published in the Official Gazette (No. 59/ 1995).

Decree No. 59 of 1994 (translation from Arabic):

The President of the State of Palestine – Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization

Based on the requirements of the Public Interest and by virtue of the powers vested in him decrees:

  1. The Palestinian High Commission for Human Rights is hereby established.
  2. The Commission shall enact its statutes and internal by-laws so as to guarantee its independence and efficiency as soon as possible.
  3. The Commission shall be entrusted with pursuing and ensuring that human rights are respected and integrated in Palestinian legislation and institutions.
  4. This decree enters into force upon publication.

Tunis: September 30th, 1993

Yasser Arafat

President of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization,
President of the Palestinian National Authority

Also the article 31 of the Basic Law voted by the Palestinian Legislative Council on 2 October 1997 provides: "An independent Commission for Human Rights shall be established by law, which shall specify its formation, duties, and jurisdiction. The Commission shall submit its reports to the President of the National Authority and to the Palestinian Legislative Council".

The Internal-by-Laws of the ICHR specify the responsibilities and duties of ICHR, as well as its mandate.

During the latter half of 2004, ICHR commenced work on a draft law which was submitted to the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) in May 2005 for discussion and approval.

This draft law confirms ICHR as the National Human Rights Commission for Palestine with an Ombudsman function at its core. It provides ICHR with a broad mandate in accordance with national and international norms.

The draft law gives ICHR the authority to deal with cases of human rights violations; complaints submitted by citizens related to maladministration, abuse of power and squandering of public funds; education and promotion; monitoring; and generally integrating human rights into Palestinian legislation and practices.

It also empowers ICHR to take cases to the court and have access to information. In other words, the law defines the role of ICHR in protecting basic liberties and freedoms as prescribed in the Basic Law and international laws.

For further information about the legal foundation of the Independent Commission for Human Rights, please refer directly to the ICHR website.


Image credits

  1. ICHR staff meeting with prisoners - Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights