The Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) has been officially informed by the ICC Sub-Committee on Accreditation that it has received full membership (A status) with the International Coordination Committee of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (ICC).
In a press conference held on 13 April 2009, ICHR's Executive Director, Ms. Randa Siniora explained that ICHR is now a full member of the ICC, therefore a national human rights that complies with the 1993 Paris Principles according to the United Nations. This is a result of 15 years of efforts by ICHR to work with integrity in an independent, transparent manner, without the interference of the Palestinian Authority, to ensure the protection and promotion of human rights of Palestinian citizens.
This membership enables ICHR with international credibility regarding its work in protecting and promoting human rights, and allows it to present statements to the United Nations Human Rights Council. The fact that the ICC has given ICHR A status indicates the political recognition of Palestine as a territory under occupation and that the Commission is working in unusual circumstances as Palestine is not yet an independent state.
On the national level, being a full member of the ICC makes ICHR more recognized to act as an intermediate and coordinating body between civil society organizations and governmental institutions. It also allows a closer relationship with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights country office in the Palestinian-controlled Territory in order to develop a national strategy for the respect and dissemination of a culture of human rights.
Acquiring full membership with the ICC leads to another call on the Palestinian Authority for ICHR to keep working independently, as it has done since its establishment in 1993. The Commission looks forward to working on the follow-up of its enabling draft law of 2004 with the Palestinian Legislative Council in the near future.