On Monday, 8 November 2016, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights held a training workshop for fishermen, farmers, and their spouses in Al Mawasi, Rafah on the protection of their communities under international law. The fishing and farming communities in Gaza are considered a vulnerable population due to their constant targeting by Israeli authorities and their presence in the access restricted areas (“buffer zone”) on Gaza’s borders, areas that endure frequent incursions by Israeli forces.
Yahiya Mhareb, lawyer at Al Mezan, introduced our monitoring and documentation activities relating to human rights standards under international human rights law (IHRL) and obligations towards civilians under international humanitarian law (IHL). He encouraged the communities to approach Al Mezan’s legal and fieldwork units with the pressing concerns faced by their communities relating to international law violations. The workshop aimed at equipping the vulnerable communities to do so, giving them the tools they need to make judgments on the violation of international law stemming from the treatment they endure by Israeli forces and authorities.
The workshop cited the context in which the communities work under an international law framework, dividing between IHL and IHRL, including by framing the prevention in access to natural resources by the occupying power and the violation of the right to work. Mhareb discussed the systematic arbitrary arrests and attacks against the communities within the rights to life, to live free from torture and ill-treatment, and to security of the person, and laid out the relevant international legal standards relating to Gaza as an occupied territory. The workshop was concluded with a session on international and domestic litigation mechanisms, e.g. for retrieval of confiscated fishing boats and equipment, use of torture, and other relevant areas of notable harm inflicted systematically on the two communities.
The workshop is part of a project enhancing IHL in the Gaza Strip and is funded by Diakonia.