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The Palestinian Association for Human Rights (witness) When it makes a place for itself under the sun it uses all means to in defends the dignity of human

Human rights organizations are part of the civil society system, which is now particularly important. The situation of human rights is worsening year by year, especially during periods of war, and the absence of true democracy, which is characterized by active participation in political life, has made human rights vulnerable to the most widespread violations.

Human rights organizations are generally characterized by being non-impartial professional organizations, carrying a lofty humanitarian message entitled Human Dignity, and faces in order to carry this message, various kinds of challenges and difficulties.

In an unfavorable political environment in which political parties cling to power or seek to preserve political gains in an undemocratic manner, the work of human rights organizations becomes more difficult, and the human rights organizations accuse to be non-impartial in any statement, report or activity it makes.

 The problems faced by human rights organizations and the enormous accusations against it are not different in terms of content between organizations, whether local, regional or international.These charges are increased whenever the human rights organization is active and daring and addresses problematic issues.

A well-established golden rule in human rights work says, "There are no neutral people, but there are neutral behaviors." That is there are applicable controls, procedures and rules, all of which are called professional standards.

Being a human rights activist means that you have to distinguish between two things, between the required professional career and the political thought that you carry which is your right as a human being, so when you are involved in the work of human rights you must follow the required professional standards.

The professional standards that are required do not mean that you are getting rid of your political ideas, but rather that you leave it aside when you are working in a human rights organization, because political action means that you have opponents and interests, while human rights organizations are not a political opponent to anyone but it seeks human dignity.

We are working with all the Palestinian political forces; we talk and criticize them directly. We do not go to the media except in the final stages because we are not a party that is looking for the press; we are a human rights organization.

We meet with diplomatic missions on a continuously. We record our positions with courage and responsibility and record a stand in front of the public when necessary. We meet UNRWA officials on a continuously, we do not go to the media until all efforts and efforts fail, and we meet with Lebanese political and security officials, and we deliver them memorandums and talk to them continuously. This means that we are not a political opponent to anyone and we meet with everyone according to strict professional controls.

The Palestinian Association for Human Rights (witness) works in two difficult environments.

The first is the environment of the Israeli occupation, which does not like to distort its image in international forums as a result of its inhumane conduct against the population of the occupied Palestinian territories, and does not like to harm its reputation in the international community. In the past decade, (witness) has been active in this direction and has been able to reach many international platforms in a steady pace. The Israeli occupation undoubtedly accuses (witness) of being non- impartial, just as it had accused local and international human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, it also accused two UN rapporteurs as well, and the talk on that goes on. And (witness) sensed several Israeli attempts to obstruct the organization's work or to accuse it of being non-impartial in different time and place.

The Second Environment: The complex Arab and Palestinian environment: (witness) works in an extremely complex Palestinian environment among its various political forces, between the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and the Palestinian Authority in the Gaza Strip, stories of political rivalry are almost endless, and among Palestinians in the diaspora, especially in Lebanon, stories of political rivalry are also difficult to describe. And between this and that, the Palestinian Association for Human Rights (witness) is active in all directions, and it receives as a result of this activity multiple charges, the least of which is that it is non-impartial.

(Witness) publishes multiple reports in which it makes its best efforts to view all the perspectives and does not rely on one novel or one source, it waits long before any report or position is issued, and before the human rights conditions have been met. In this complex atmosphere how a report can satisfy this and not satisfy that, and who can basically satisfy the competing and adversarial parties.

The easiest way for conflicting parties is to accuse human rights organizations of not being impartial, away from human rights and professional assessment.

Human rights organizations are then accused of being failing to fulfill their humanitarian obligations toward humanitarian cases. Let us explain the role and capacity of human rights organizations in the defense of human rights. Human rights organizations are not executive powers and they are not a governing body with great political influence. They do not have the enormous financial and human resources to deal with all humanitarian situations, it does not have the keys to prisons or the granting of universities, and it does not have the decision of hospital administrations to treat patients free of charge.

The most important question is where are the official political parties, why are they not fulfilling their duties and asking human rights organizations to do their duty?Do not have a political decision? Is not it the official body that negotiates and speaks and its own financial resources? Then in principle is not it responsible to citizens?

The Palestinian Association for Human Rights (witness) established in complex Palestinian, Arab and Lebanese political conditions. It is a truly non-profit organization that has relied on very modest human and financial resources, and has not received generous Western funding, and has operated under different headings under a non-profit organization named (witness) for Human Rights because of the difficulty of granting the ID (identity registration) to Palestinian organizations and then it becomes the Palestinian Association for Human Rights (witness) after receiving the ID. All of this was done very seriously until it reached this stage.

Issued (witness) dozens, but hundreds of reports and human rights statements and recorded dozens of positions, sent hundreds of appeals and memos, held hundreds of meetings with official bodies, political, diplomatic and international, participated in hundreds of media interviews, participated actively in dozens of activities at the local, Arab and international levels.

The organization was not recorded for a day that it turned its back on a humanitarian case it had resorted to or a human rights appeal. It follows up to the last breath.

Its working group has undergone dozens of human rights training courses locally, and internationally, and has developed itself significantly, and many of the working group receiving master's degrees.

Early in its work, (witness) opened the door to volunteering and dozens of our young men and women came into the organization to work as volunteers, and managed the volunteer process well, where the human element was invested in a way that serves the rights issues.

Those who run the Palestinian Association for Human Rights are human beings who can made mistakes, but the honesty of their workers may be recommend their mistakes, which are purely technical errors. And our believing that we can make mistakes and be on right, we aspire to listen to every constructive criticism based on logic and evidence rather than false accusations of unknown names.

We believe that partnership with civil society and with political forces is strategic in our thinking and programs because, in short, we have achieved partnership in the battle for the defense of Palestinian human rights wherever they may be.

Beirut, 7/6/2019

The Director of the Palestinian Association for Human Rights (witness) Dr. Mahmoud El Hanafi