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UNESCO Chair of Human Rights, Democracy and Peace

The An-Najah National University in Nablus hosts the office of UNESCO Chair of Human Rights, Democracy and Peace, established in 1997. After a period of uncertainty and instability, due to the fragile situation existing in the West Bank, the center re-started its activity in January 2010.

MPT was welcomed by the director, Mr. Raed Abubadawia, and by Ms. "L", project coordinator, presenting the center`s goals and its main activities. MPT found out that besides the popular resistance which exists in the Nablus district, there is a scientific “think tank,” trying to back up with research, legal documents, surveys and education the ongoing protests of the population.

The center`s main goals are all related to human rights, promoting research, training, information and legal documentation of human rights abuses and violations. The center`s main target group are university students and its staff, but they try to promote these activities within the larger Palestinian community.

Ms. "L" told MPT that the center works with volunteer staff and sometimes has visiting fellows from USA, who also teach at the University. Their fields of work are focusing on documenting ad-hoc reports about Israeli settler violence, impunity, extrajudicial killings, clashes with the Israeli army, etc. They also try to document every human right violation in collaboration with legal advisors on the issues involved and with the UN offices.

The UNESCO chair organizes several educational activities, trainings, conferences related to the right of education and the civil and political rights of Palestine students, who face harassments by the settlers or by the army when going to the University. They have several connections with other universities in Palestine - Birzeit University in Ramallah, Hebron University, Al-Quds University and the Islamic University in Gaza. They also are organizing a film festival which will present several young talented artists/actors from the region and abroad.

After an informal and constructive discussion in the center`s office, Ms. "L" enthusiastically handed over to MPT the Investigative Summary Report about the findings with regard to the facts and circumstances related to the death of the two Palestinian youths killed in Iraq Burin on Saturday, 20th of March 2010. MPT will also receive by e-mail the survey findings about freedom of movement and the financial impact of the occupation.

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