On Monday, 31 December 2018, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) organized a workshop with fishermen from the Gaza Strip to discuss ongoing violations of the latter’s rights by the Israeli naval forces.
Mr. Samir Al-Mana’ma, lawyer within Al Mezan’s legal aid unit, inaugurated the workshop by highlighting fishermen’s rights as mandated and protected by different international human rights conventions, and he focused on to their right to life, to physical integrity, to property, to work, and to freedom from arbitrary arrest—rights of which Israeli forces routinely deprive Palestinian fishermen. “Al Mezan continues to monitor and document violations against Palestinian fishermen in Gaza, and to take the appropriate courses of legal action in documented cases,” Mr. Al-Mana’ma said. “International mechanisms of justice and reparation should also be utilized in preventing the continuity of Israeli violations in Palestinian territorial water, including its blockade over Gaza.”
Many fishermen present in the workshop shared their own experiences of suffering as a result of Israeli forces’ policies and practices. They expressed their genuine willingness to cooperate with all parties, including local and international human rights organizations, in undertaking necessary legal interventions to ensure their protection as they work for a living in the sea.
Mr. Sa’d-Eddein Ziada, “Defending the Rights of Farmers and Fishermen” project manager, stressed that UAWC will actively coordinate and collaborate with all concerned parties to defend the rights of fishermen. “UAWC welcomes all opportunities of cooperation in condemning and stopping violations,” Mr. Ziada said. “UAWC has been enthusiastic to witness the UN’s Declaration of the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas on 17 December 2018. As a member of La Via Campesina, the global farmers’ movement that for over 17 years sought to have the Declaration adopted, UAWC will use the new source in urging protection of fishermen.
At the end of the workshop, participants in the workshop set forth the following recommendations: