On Monday 31 December 2012, the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights in corporation with Diakonia, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), and the Gazan Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) organized a ceremony to honor the winners of a student human rights contest.
The competition brought together painting contestants from UNRWA and governmental schools, including those privately owned, as well as schools for people with disability.
The students celebrated with almost 200 attendees in total, including Mr.
Issam Younis, Al Mezan’s director; Dr.
Kamal Al Shrafi, chairman of Al Mezan’s board; Mrs.
Shirin Ash-Shobaki, training and mass communication unit coordinator at Al Mezan; Ibrahim Eshah, human rights observer at UNRWA; Dr.
Iyad Naser, consultant for human rights to UNRWA’s Gaza Field Administration Officer; Mr.
Mohammed Siyam, director of educational activity at the MoHE; a group of directors and observers of UNRWA programs; human rights teachers; the contest winners and their parents; and several representatives of community-based organizations.
Ash-Shobaki opened the ceremony by welcoming the participants and the main speakers.
She provided a summary of the contest and thanked those who had contributed for their efforts.
Issam Younis thanked the participants, UNRWA, and MoHE for their continuous cooperation.
Of the more than 2,500 paintings seen in the contest, most of the subject material surrounded violations of human rights.
Reflecting on the work of the young artists, Mr.
Younis discussed the current nature of the human rights situation in the Gaza Strip and Israeli violations of human rights.
He also mentioned the international community’s obligation to bring Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) to justice for the crimes committed against Palestinians.
In concluding, Mr.
Younis congratulated the winners and affirmed the promotion of human rights culture has a common goal of all of the participating bodies.
Kamal Al Shrafi thanked Al Mezan and its partners for their efforts, which he said contribute to the creation of a positive environment for children.
He urged all those in the audience to work and cooperate with each other to enhance human rights and international humanitarian law.
Naser thanked Al Mezan for implementing activities such as this contest, which promote human rights among students and raise student awareness of human rights issues.
He praised the paintings produced and expressed his hope that cooperation with Al Mezan in such ventures would continue.
He also thanked the MoHE for its support in the implementation of contest activities.
Siyam thanked Al Mezan for implementing programs as these, which he said work to instill and promote human rights values among students.
He also thanked UNRWA for its effective contributions towards promoting human rights culture in young people.
During the ceremony, honors certificates were handed out to the 18 winners of the contest.
In addition, first place winners received a prize of $120, with second place winners receiving $100, and third place winners receiving $70 respectively for their praised efforts.
Student Muna Ibrahim Hamad delivered a poem entitled, “Gaza Students Have Taught Us” and received a 'thank you certificate'.
Regarding the category of best blog and poster on human rights for university students, Al Mezan has postponed the award giving until next year due to an insufficient number of participants.
Mrs Ash-Shobaki announced the opening of a gallery displaying the 18 winning paintings from the contest and more than 40 other commended works.
Ash-Shobaki concluded the ceremony by congratulating the winners of the contest.
Winners of the student human rights contest in the area of painting: 1st place: Reem Abu Haleeb Hadeel Abu Nasser Su’ad Abu Oda Rajab ‘Abed Mahmoud An-Nabaheen Sundus Abu Khubeeza 2nd place: Ahmed Namla Osama As-Sa’afeen Waleed ‘Awad Khitam Yasen Maysoon Quz’at Reema Abu Shaweesh 3rd place: Mohammed Abu Saleem Nada Az-Zbedi Randa Quz’at Yara Ghabaien Malak Al ‘Awawda Salsabeel Abu Sharee’a End