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Organization: Palestinian Association for Human Rights (Witness Association)
The following information may be cited or quoted as long as the source is accurately mentioned and the words are not taken out of context.
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PROGRESS: Has your organization seen progress toward a culture of peace and nonviolence in your domain of action and in your constituency during the first half of the Decade?

Yes :
At the beginning, operating in that field was quite difficult and considered a new trend to Palestinian refugees, even to the Lebanese government. Our primary focus was the 'right of return'; however, it was found that the right of return should not be separated from other human rights such as the right of employment, right of property ownership, the right to adequate housing and the right of education. Hence, we included those issues  and conducted numerous studies in those fields. We also organized several conferences on human rights advocacy that linked between the right of return and the necessity of having complete human rights. After such long exhausting journey, the Witness Association grew to have a say in every Palestinian event taking place in Lebanon. We developed our activities and trained out local representatives through a representative council appointed to monitor and record, represent the Association in public activities and solve problems whenever possible. Today, we treat people's complaints through scientific methodologies and communication with the parties concerned. The Witness Association is planning to be an important reference on both the legal and human levels.
Measures of success:  
                             
* Positive public response  
* Media coverage
* Official interaction
* Achievement of goals

OBSTACLES: What are the most important obstacles that have prevented progress?

The Witness Association has encountered numerous obstacles, chief among which are:
* Abuse of human rights of the Palestinians in Lebanon, a problem that requires great efforts.
* Relapse of the human rights education and its confinement to the political aspect only, which  often hinders advancement in that domain.
* Lebanese governments do not grant license to human rights associations, especially Palestinian ones, which sometimes hinders the promotion of our activities.
* Poor financial capacity which negatively reflects on the execution of our programmes and projects.
* Political, rather than humanitarian considerations always have the upper hand when dealing with the Palestinian refugees problem.
* The declining influence of Palestinian political parties and powers in daily life, and in the treatment of accumulated problems.
Measures of failure:
* Lack of enthusiasm on the part of Palestinian refugees
* Local and international media indifference to  our activities
* Lack of official enthusiasm

ACTIONS: What actions have been undertaken by your organization to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence during the first half of the Decade?

Action areas :
* Building a human rights culture among the Palestinian refugee community in Lebanon
* Advocacy of the 'right of return' of the Palestinian Diaspora and refugees to their homeland
* Issuing studies and reports on the conditions of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon
Most important activities developed :
* Conducting a study on the humanitarian condition of refugee camps in Lebanon.
* Launching a wide-scale campaign in Lebanon to emphasize the Palestinian adherence to the right of return, and releasing an informative booklet on the campaign and its significance.
* Holding a series of seminars to raise awareness among refugees on their rights, especially those enshrined in the International Human Rights Legislation.
* Organizing an international conference advocating the Palestinians' right of return, voicing opposition to resettlement and naturalization in the host country; and calling for the entitlement to civil, political, social, cultural and economic rights.
* Launching a campaign on Arab and foreign embassies presenting the views of the Palestinian refugee community in Lebanon, and urging Lebanon to grant complete rights to the Palestinians until they return to their homeland.
* Organizing three workshops for the Association's representatives; an introductory course and two specialized ones.
* Coordinating with several associations in Palestinian circles in different activities calling for the abolishment of the 2001 property law, which effectively bars any Palestinian from owning or inheriting property in Lebanon.
* Participating in international seminars in Lebanon and the Arab World.

ADVICE: What advice would you like to give to the Secretary-General and the General Assembly to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence during the second half of the Decade?


PARTNERSHIPS: What partnerships and networks does your organization participate in, thus strengthening the global movement for a culture of peace?


PLANS: What new engagements are planned by your organization to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence in the second half of the Decade (2005-2010)?


Postal address of organization

P.O. Box 114/5004
Beirut
Lebanon

E-mail address of organization

pa4hrsw@hotmail.com

Website address of organization


Highest priority action domain of a culture of peace

Human rights

Second priority action domain of a culture of peace


Highest priority country of action (or international)


Second priority country of action (or international)

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Organization: Palestinian Association for Human Rights (Witness Association)

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