The Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) held a special commemorative event to celebrate its re-accreditation with A status by the Sub-Committee on Accreditation of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions for the fourth time in a row. The event brought together Dr. Mohammed al-Shalaldeh, Minister of Justice and representative of the Prime Minister; Mr. Viktor Vavricka, Swiss Ambassador to the State of Palestine; Mr. Issam Arouri, ICHR Commissioner General; and Dr. Ammar Dwaik, ICHR Director General. The ceremony was also attended by ministers, officials, public directors of security agencies, ICHR Donors Consortium, donors, and representatives of government bodies, civil society organisations, and trade unions.
Al-Shalaldeh asserted that the ICHR re-accreditation “is a source of pride and notable achievement for Palestine.” In part, it highlights Palestinian commitment to all international human rights conventions, to which the State of Palestine has acceded. As the Israeli occupying authorities impinge on Palestinian rights, particularly the right to life, the United Nations and international community should move forward to implement UN resolutions, especially those in relation to the Palestinian right to self-determination.
Al-Shalaldeh condemned the Israeli decision on labelling six Palestinian civil society actors as “terrorist” organisations, emphasising that that it must be revoked.
Dwaik highlighted that the “ICHR high profile accreditation is evidence as to the Commission’s distinctive status and strong visibility not only at local and Arba levels, but also on the international stage. The ICHR has been re-accredited thanks to fulfilling a significant number of parameters, including independence, immunity, access to detention centres, response to and comprehensive coverage of human rights violations, etc.
As Dwaik explained, the A status means that the ICHR is fully compliant with the Principles relating to the Status of National Institutions (Paris Principles). “We are proud that the ICHR is the first national human rights institution (NHRI) to be awarded the A status in 2005.” Payoffs of this status include the opportunity to take part in UN Human Rights Council sessions, interaction with international human rights mechanisms, and full membership on global and regional NHRI networks and coalitions. In addition to lending credibility to ICHR reports and positions, the A status promotes the Commission’s local, regional, and international standing.
Arouri indicated that the ceremony served as an occasion to send several messages. While the second phase of local elections should be organised, Arouri advocated that 2022 be the year of presidential and legislative elections. “The ICHR voice and action are in the interest of, not against, Palestine.” Arouri stressed the need to respect public freedoms, including the right to hold demonstrations, right to freedom of peaceful assembly, and right to freedom of association.
Arouri made clear that outlawing six Palestinian human rights actors was part of an Israeli attack on Palestinian civil society organisations. Continued inaction of the Palestinian Legislative Council also increases burden on human rights actors.
In the statement delivered on behalf of the ICHR Donors Consortium, Vavricka commended the ICHR professionalism and vital role in society. Vavricka emphasised that the fact that the ICHR has maintained the A status for the fourth consecutive time represents an important success story and reflects its commitment to meet international best practice standards.