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Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR)

Profile

Country/TerritoryPalestinian Authority
Websitehttp://pchrgaza.org/en/
Founded1995, in Gaza City
In their own words“Dedicated to protecting human rights, promoting the rule of law, and upholding democratic principles in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”

Funding

Activities

  • Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) is a leader in anti-Israel lawfare campaigns, denies the existence of terrorism against Israeli civilians, and presents a distorted version of the conflict based only on the Palestinian narrative.
  • Regularly describes Israel’s policies as “apartheid” and accuses Israel of “ethnic cleansing,” “war crimes,” and the “Judaization of Jerusalem.”
  • Refers to Israeli security measures as “collective punishment” and promotes the “nakba” narrative.
  • PCHR was one of the NGOs that formed the basis of the UN Human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry report on the 2014 Gaza conflict, although it lacks the proper evidence and fact-finding methodology to make claims of Israeli wrongdoing. PCHR was quoted fifty times in the report.
  • In a November 28, 2013 press release, together with Palestinian NGOs Al Dameer, Al-Mezan and Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), accused Israel of “systematic policies against the civilian population” and “human rights violations perpetrated by Israeli occupation forces… as a form of collective punishment.”
  • PCHR also criticizes the Palestinian Authority’s and Hamas’ violations against Palestinians (though not against Israelis).

Terrorism

  • Regularly denies the existence of terrorism against Israeli civilians, portraying a narrative of Palestinian suffering. PCHR completely ignores the context of terrorism, referring to attacks as having “allegedly” taken place, and condemns Israel for actions taken to protect its civilians. In describing Israeli security measures put in place, including checkpoints and closures of Gaza Strip border crossings, PCHR does not make mention of attacks by terror groups on Israeli civilians.
  • Raji Sourani, founder and director of the PCHR, was “prohibited from leaving Palestine (sic) from 1977 to 1990.” In an interview, Sourani admitted that he served “a three-year sentence [1979-1982] imposed by an Israeli court which convicted him of membership in the illegal Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine…” Sourani was imprisoned an additional three times “in 1985 and 1986…” and held in administrative detention in 1988. From 1986 to 1987 he was “restricted from legal work for one year by an Israeli military decision issued by the Israeli Military Governor.” He was also denied a US entry visa and was thus unable to travel to participate in the Russell Tribunal on Palestine (RToP) in 20121. In February 2014, the PFLP organized a ceremony in Gaza honoring Sourani for winning the “Alternative Noble Prize.” Dr. Rabah Muhana, a member of the PFLP Political Bureau, delivered a speech at the prize ceremony.
  • During the wave of terrorism that began in October 2015, PCHR condemned Israel for “grave crimes” against “Palestinian civilians.” Referring to Israel’s killing of individuals who were in the midst of carrying out attacks against Israeli civilians, PCHR condemned “with the strongest terms the Israeli forces’ disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians.”
  • Throughout the conflict in Gaza in 2014, PCHR regularly condemned the Israeli government and military for its targeting “civilian-populated areas,” not mentioning that Hamas housed rocket launchers in civilian centers exploiting the residents as human shields.
  • Nizar Rayan, a senior Hamas military commander, and members of his family were killed in an IDF airstrike on January 1, 2009 during the offensive. Despite Rayan’s status and the weapons stockpile located at his home, PCHR classified Rayan as a “civilian,” called his death a “heinous crime” and demanded that its “perpetrators and their military and political leaders must be prosecuted.”

Lawfare

  • Is a leader in the anti-Israel “lawfare” movement and has tried to have Israelis arrested in England, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, and New Zealand.  The group has filed for punitive damages against Israeli officials and companies doing business with Israel in the US.  All of PCHR’s cases have been dismissed in the preliminary stages.
  • Lobbied the British government to arrest Tzipi Livni for alleged war crimes committed during the 2009 Gaza conflict. PCHR, along with a London-based law firm, represented the complainants in the case, identified as “victims of Israel’s three-week attack.” The UK government provided Livni with the special status of a “special diplomatic assignment,” preventing the British Police from advancing with the case.
  • In 2015, PCHR, along with other Palestinian rights groups including Al Dameer, Al-Mezan, and Al-Haq, delivered a communication to a member of the International Criminal Court claiming to document alleged crimes committed by Israel during the 2014 Gaza Conflict.
  • Uses its membership in the Palestinian Human Rights Organisations Council (PHROC) as a platform to lobby international forums and disseminate statements demonizing Israel.
  • During the 2014 Gaza war, PCHR, together with the other members of PHROC, submitted a letter to the EU accusing Israel of “blatant violations of international law,” “indiscriminately and disproportionally killing Palestinian civilians,” and “evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity.” The letter urges the EU “to resort to all operational measures at its disposal with a view of bringing Israel’s violations of international humanitarian law to an end.”
  • During the 2014 Gaza War, PCHR, along with B’Tselem and Al-Mezan, was designated by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to provide casualty statistics. These statistics were provided by the Hamas Ministry of Health, and many individuals identified as “civilians” killed during the conflict were actually found to be combatants and members of terror groups.

Funding

FunderTotalYear(s)
European Union€411,861  2014-2016
UN OCHA$577,0002014
Ireland€80,0002013
Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Norway)$710,0002014-2016
Norway1,000,000 NOK2016
1,000,000 NOK2015
Christian Aid (United Kingdom)Not disclosedNot disclosed
Kvina Till Kvina (Sweden)Not disclosedNot disclosed
Al-Quds Association Malaga (Spain)Not disclosedNot disclosed
Grassroots InternationalNot disclosedNot disclosed
Oxfam Novib (the Netherlands)Not disclosedNot disclosed
DanChurchAid (Denmark)Not disclosedNot disclosed
Open Society Foundations (US)Not disclosedNot disclosed
Medical Aid for Palestinians (United Kingdom)Not disclosedNot disclosed
Sida (Swedish)Not disclosedNot disclosed

Partners

  • PCHR holds Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations.
  • It is an affiliate of International Commission of Jurists-Geneva, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) – Paris, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network – Copenhagen, the International Legal Assistance Consortium (ILAC) – Stockholm, the World Coalition against the Death Penalty, and the Arab Organization for Human Rights – Cairo.
  • Member of the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC).
  • Works with Al-Haq on issues relating to lawfare.

Footnotes

  1. Founded in 2009, the Russel Tribunal on Palestine is a kangaroo court that uses a legal façade to create an image of neutrality and credibility, and to accuse Israel of apartheid, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

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