Other Group

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR)

Website:

pchrgaza.org

Headquarters:

Jamal ‘Abdel Nasser “al-Thalathini” Street – Al-Roya Building- Floor 12, PO Box 1328

Location:

Gaza City

Type:

Non-Governmental Organization (NGO)

Founded:

1995

Director General:

Raji Sourani

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) is a non-governmental organization which opposes Israeli law, especially as it applies to treatment of Palestinians. PCHR’s stated mission is to establish Palestine as an independent nation with Jerusalem as its capital and to expel Israeli citizens from the territory. [1] [2] It characterizes Israeli rule as an “occupation” and alleges that Israeli forces have committed human rights violations through enforcing anti-terrorist actions against individuals involved in Palestinian uprisings. [3]

PCHR has close ties to radical organizations, including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) which instigated terrorist acts such as hijacking civilian airplanes in the 1960s and 1970s. [4] [5] PCHR also opposed the arrests of individuals affiliated with the Palestinian terrorist movement Hamas. [6] The U.S. Department of State lists both PFLP and Hamas as foreign terrorist organizations. [7]

Background

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights was founded in 1995 by Palestinian resistance activists and lawyers for the purpose of promoting a Palestinian state independent of Israel. [8] It has characterized Israel’s government as “apartheid,” called returning groups of Jewish people “illegal Israeli settlements,” and claimed that the re-dedication of an historic Jewish synagogue in Jerusalem was a “war crime.” [9] [10] [11] Despite this inflammatory rhetoric, major groups such as the Norwegian government and the European Union (EU) continue to donate to PCHR. [12] [13] For a short period between 2021 and 2022, the EU ceased its donations to PCHR after Israel’s government accused the organization of engaging in terrorism. The EU reversed its decision in 2022, claiming that the evidence that Israel provided of PCHR’s terrorist acts was not enough to prevent PCHR from receiving EU funds. [14]

The organization also ties to philanthropist George Soros, who is known for financially supporting left-of-center causes. [15] PCHR has received at least $300,000 in grants from Soros’ Foundation to Promote Open Society. [16] [17] [18]

Impact

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights has issued many statements on the conditions in the Palestinian territories to the United Nations (UN), several of which were mentioned in a positive light by an official UN report in 2020. [19] [20] A UN refugee agency later published a story praising children in the PCHR-supervised High Council of Palestinian Children for its support of refugees. [21]

National Public Radio (NPR) ran a news story in 2022 which favorably featured PCHR lawyer Mohammed Al-Alami. Al-Alami wrote a letter and engaged in conversation with Israeli authorities on the behalf of an elderly Palestinian who requested travel permission for heart surgery. His involvement resulted in the patient obtaining a travel permit shortly after. [22]

Following an Israeli investigation into seven major Palestinian groups suspected of terrorism, PCHR signed a 2022 statement with 150 other organizations that advocated for the seven groups to be removed from international terrorism lists and given financial support. The groups supported by the statement included Al-Haq, which is a U.S. Department of State-designated terrorist organization and a major supporter of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) of Israel movement. [23] [24]

Leadership

Raji Sourani works as director general for Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. He is best known for promoting universal jurisdiction, which permits international courts to override Israel’s national justice system in cases regarding Palestinian prisoners. Israel alleges that Sourani previously worked “inside the ranks” of terrorist organization Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, for which he was arrested and served three years in prison. [25] [26]

He has received multiple awards from organizations sympathetic to Palestine, including the Right Livelihood Award and a fellowship at the Oak Institute for Human Rights hosted by Colby College. He was not able to participate in the fellowship due to visa problems. [27]

Funding

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights lists funding from a variety of left-of-center donors, including an unspecified amount from George Soros‘s Foundation to Promote Open Society (FPOS) in 2020. [28] Previous reports from 2015 and 2017 show that FPOS awarded PCHR a multiyear grant of $300,000, with $118,748 paid in 2015 and $71,825 in 2017. [29] [30]

PCHR also mentions the UN as a donor through the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture (UNVFVT) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP). Other PCHR donors include the Dutch branch of international charity Oxfam and the Lebanon-based Arab Human Rights Fund. [31]

The Ford Foundation donated $370,000 to PCHR in 2005. [32]

References

  1. Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. “The Philosophy of the Centre’s Work.” Accessed September 3, 2022. https://pchrgaza.org/en/philosophy/ ^
  2. Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. “About PCHR.” Accessed September 3, 2022. https://pchrgaza.org/en/about-pchr/ ^
  3. Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. “The Philosophy of the Centre’s Work.” Accessed September 3, 2022. https://pchrgaza.org/en/philosophy/ ^
  4. Right Livelihood. “Raji Sourani.” 2013. Accessed September 3, 2022. https://rightlivelihood.org/the-change-makers/find-a-laureate/raji-sourani/ ^
  5. Encyclopedia Britannica. “Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.” Accessed September 3, 2022. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Popular-Front-for-the-Liberation-of-Palestine ^
  6. Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. “PCHR Condemns Arrests of Political Leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the West Bank.” June 11, 2012. Accessed September 3, 2022. https://pchrgaza.org/en/pchr-condemns-arrests-of-political-leaders-of-hamas-and-islamic-jihad-in-the-west-bank/ ^
  7. U.S. Department of State. “Foreign Terrorist Organizations.” Accessed September 3, 2022. https://www.state.gov/foreign-terrorist-organizations/ ^
  8. Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. “About PCHR.” Accessed September 3, 2022. https://pchrgaza.org/en/about-pchr/ ^
  9. Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. “2019 Annual Report.” Accessed September 3, 2022. https://pchrgaza.org/en/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/annual-report-2019-English.pdf ^
  10. Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. “The Philosophy of the Centre’s Work.” Accessed September 3, 2022. https://pchrgaza.org/en/philosophy/ ^
  11. Noah Pollack. “When Dedicating a Synagogue Is a War Crime.” Commentary.org. March 17, 2010. Accessed September 3, 2022. https://www.commentary.org/noah-pollak/when-dedicating-a-synagogue-is-a-war-crime/ ^
  12. Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. “Funding.” Accessed September 3, 2022. https://pchrgaza.org/en/funding/ ^
  13. Al Jazeera. “‘Unfounded allegations’: EU resumes funding of Palestinian NGOs.” June 30, 2022. Accessed September 3, 2022. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/6/30/no-suspicions-eu-resumes-funding-of-palestinian-ngos ^
  14. Al Jazeera. “‘Unfounded allegations’: EU resumes funding of Palestinian NGOs.” June 30, 2022. Accessed September 3, 2022. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/6/30/no-suspicions-eu-resumes-funding-of-palestinian-ngos ^
  15. Kenneth P. Vogel. “Soros bands with donors to resist Trump, ‘take back power’.” Politico. November 14, 2016. Accessed September 3, 2022. https://www.politico.com/story/2016/11/democrats-soros-trump-231313 ^
  16. The Harvard Gazette. “Fourteen win Soros Fellowships.” February 16, 2006. Accessed September 3, 2022. https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2006/02/fourteen-win-soros-fellowships/ ^
  17. Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax, 2015 Form 990. Accessed September 3, 2022. http://990s.foundationcenter.org/990pf_pdf_archive/263/263753801/263753801_201412_990PF.pdf ^
  18. Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax, 2017 Form 990. Accessed September 3, 2022. https://990s.foundationcenter.org/990pf_pdf_archive/263/263753801/263753801_201712_990PF.pdf ^
  19. United Nations. “Palestinian Centre for Human Rights.” Accessed September 3, 2022. https://www.un.org/unispal/document-source/palestinian-centre-for-human-rights/ ^
  20. United Nations. “United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.” September 3, 2020. Accessed September 3, 2022. https://www.un.org/unispal/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/NGOACTIONNEWS_030920.pdf ^
  21. United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. “’ Their Trust Encouraged Me to Voice Their Issues’: Girls in Gaza Speak Up For Rights For Palestine Refugees.” March 22, 2022. Accessed September 3, 2022. https://www.unrwa.org/newsroom/features/%E2%80%9Ctheir-trust-encouraged-me-voice-their-issues%E2%80%9D-girls-gaza-speak-rights-palestine ^
  22. Daniel Estrin and Anas Baba. “A 70-year-old man in Gaza needed open heart surgery. It was a race against time.” National Public Radio. July 7, 2022. Accessed September 3, 2022. https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2022/07/07/1097980428/a-70-year-old-man-in-gaza-needed-open-heart-surgery-it-was-a-race-against-time ^
  23. U.S. Department of State. “Foreign Terrorist Organizations.” Accessed September 3, 2022. https://www.state.gov/foreign-terrorist-organizations/ ^
  24. Al-Haq. “Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC) statement on BDS movement.” February 8, 2016. Accessed September 3, 2022. https://www.alhaq.org/palestinian-human-rights-organizations-council/6442.html ^
  25. Right Livelihood. “Raji Sourani.” 2013. Accessed September 3, 2022. https://rightlivelihood.org/the-change-makers/find-a-laureate/raji-sourani/ ^
  26. Alwatan Voice. “The people honor the militant Professor Raji Sourani in recognition of his role in conveying the message of our people.” Accessed via Wayback Machine. October 18, 2018. Accessed September 3, 2022. https://web.archive.org/web/20181018125346/https:/video.alwatanvoice.com/view/2014/02/17/496986.html ^
  27. Kardelen Koldas. “Two Decades of Human Rights.” Colby News. February 3, 2022. Accessed September 3, 2022. https://news.colby.edu/story/two-decades-of-human-rights/ ^
  28.  Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. “2019 Annual Report.” Accessed September 3, 2022. https://pchrgaza.org/en/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/annual-report-2019-English.pdf ^
  29. Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax, 2015 Form 990. Accessed September 3, 2022. http://990s.foundationcenter.org/990pf_pdf_archive/263/263753801/263753801_201412_990PF.pdf ^
  30. Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax, 2017 Form 990. Accessed September 3, 2022. https://990s.foundationcenter.org/990pf_pdf_archive/263/263753801/263753801_201712_990PF.pdf ^
  31. Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. “Funding.” Accessed September 3, 2022. https://pchrgaza.org/en/funding/ ^
  32. 2005 Annual Report, “Ford Foundation,” 2005. Accessed September 3, 2022. https://www.fordfoundation.org/media/1532/ar2005.pdf ^
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