In October 2017, WCLAC carried out training course for The Palestinian Working Women's Association for Development (PSWWD) aimed toward a group of young activists in the field of International Human Rights; in partnership with the Kvinna Till Kvinna Foundation. The training was facilitated over four days, between the 18th and 24th of October 2017, in PSWWD’s office in Ramallah. The focus of the course was primarily on Universal Periodical Review, of which WCLAC contributed to the 2017 Israel UPR earlier this year.
The participants on the training course were masters’ students or recent graduates from various academic and professional backgrounds in law and whom would apply the skills from this training to activism work on behalf of women’s rights.
On the first day, WCLAC General Director Randa Siniora introduced a detailed explanation on the International Human Right’s System, the Human Right’s Council, and International Human Rights Law.
The second day was opened by WCLAC’s Programs Director Amal Abu-Srour who provided training on the UPR. This included methods to collect, analyse, and use evidence-based approaches to develop a UPR report. Cooperatively, WCLAC’s Field Coordinator Rawan Zahran presented ways to document procedures of the UPR and how to use evidence-based date to document Israeli violations of women’s rights, as well as presenting WCLAC’s previous experience in documenting evidence-based testimonies of women victims of gender based violence and Israeli violations on human rights. WCLAC’s format for documentation works in broadcasting women’s experiences using their own words to help advocate internationally within submissions to UN human rights mechanisms and procedures.
On the third day, Ms. Abu-Srour focussed on the main differences between the UPR and CEDAW reports, in addition to the roles of NGO’s before, during, and after submitting the UPR. Furthermore, Razan Nammari from The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedom identified the best practises for drafting a UPR submission, and provided a review of the UN Human Rights website, their links, and various other topics related to UPR.
The fourth and final day constituted of a presentation by Ms. Siniora and Ms. Nammari on previous UPR’s, including WCLAC’s own submission in June 2017. This submission expressed the violence, threats, intimidation, restriction of movement, and discrimination that women face at the hands of Israeli occupation on a daily basis. It also stressed that Israel continues to impose policies which strictly violate international humanitarian and human rights law. This final session of the course also developed on the use of UPR in the practise of international and local advocacy.
Ms. Rima Nazzal, coordinator of the 1325 coalition, distributed certificates to each participant. She noted the tangible progression in the development and content of the women’s peace agenda, thanks to the continuous work of women’s organisations. The accumulation of experience on regional and international levels by these organisations, and by the Human Rights Council, mean more movements and initiatives are being carried out to advocate for the rights of Palestinian women.