On August 13, 2013 the European Commission funded “Human Rights and Reconciliation - Civil Society Acts Beyond Borders” project commenced its first panel discussion on Human Rights in West Bank. The discussion, held in Ramallah, aimed to enrich participants’ knowledge of ‘other’ perspective and encourage effective enforcement of human rights internationally.
The event began with a presentation of the history and philosophy of human rights, and the United Nation’s role in their promulgation. A Greek Cypriot expert and a Turkish Cypriot expert subsequently discussed human rights and responsibility, and human rights and conflict resolution, respectively. Their presence served to highlight Cypriot solidarity with Israeli-Palestinian peace building efforts.
The discussion on August 13th culminated with a presentation by a Palestinian Human Rights expert. He described the relation of personal status, freedom of the press, and Palestinian civil society to human rights in his community. The participants and experts alike provided distinct perspectives on the range of issues concerned with human rights generally, and within the Israeli-Palestinian society specifically.
On August 14th, a second panel discussion took place in Ramallah, West Bank. The Discussion revolved around human rights, the perspectives of diverse stakeholders, and approaches to enhance communication and dialogue.
After a review of the previous day’s discussions, a presentation of the Arab Spring was made. Its causes and impacts on Palestine and human rights were elaborated. Later in the afternoon a presentation titled “Balance Between Individual and Public Freedom Vital for Democracy” was presented, followed by discussions by the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot experts. The day’s events culminated with a discussion of Palestinian Basic Law and human rights.
The events of August 13th and 14th exemplified the importance of human rights in the region, and in future Israeli-Palestinian relations as well. Through expert led discussions, and the perspectives of various stakeholders in the Israeli-Palestinian situation, the Civil Society Acts Beyond Borders event highlighted the need for stronger human rights enforcement and enhanced communication and dialogue within and between societies.