Program contribution to Human Rights & International Humanitarian Law Secretariat in oPt

Project completed
A family from Gaza still living inside their destroyed house, Shija'ia, Gaza Strip February 2015, photo by Ali Ashour, © SDC

SDC support to the HR/IHL Secretariat mechanism seeks to enhance the capacities of civil society organizations (CSOs) operating in the oPt to promote respect and adherence to International Human Rights Law (IHRL) and International Humanitarian Law (IHL). This will be done through the channeling of pooled donors’ funds, the building of institutional and advocacy capacities of HR and IHL CSO and promoting a dialogue between donors and CSOs. This will contribute to State building in the oPt, and to the creation of essential conditions for sustainable development and peace.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Palestinian Authority
Human rights
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)
Public sector policy
15.07.2013 - 30.06.2018
CHF 4'750'000

The oPt suffers from recurrent patterns of HR/IHL violations from both the Palestinian government (whether in the West Bank or Gaza) and the 46 years old Israeli occupation. Awaiting results from the ongoing “peace talks”, abuses of rights by all duty bearers continue and need to be examined/documented in an unusually complex environment. It is essential to determine which authority is responsible for the violation, what law applies, and thus what course of action might be most relevant and appropriate to serve and promote the respect of the rights of all Palestinians.


To contribute to effective respect of human rights and international humanitarian law in the oPt and to influence the behaviour of the relevant duty bearers, primarily Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the de facto government in Gaza, as well as the international community, through the means of capacitated HR/IHL civil society organizations.

Target groups
  • 50-60 Israeli and Palestinian civil society organizations mandated to promote human rights and international humanitarian law
  • The Palestinian and Israeli Authorities primarily, as well as the international community, as duty bearers
  • Local and international media will benefit from several produced reports and research papers in the field of HR and IHL
  • Palestinian women and men at large as rights holders
  • Israeli women and men are aware and informed about the situation in the oPt (advocacy)
Medium-term outcomes
  1. HR and IHL CSOs having the potential to play a strategic role in the promotion and respect of human rights receive quality services from the HR/IHL Secretariat (funding, networking, institutional capacity building, monitoring and evaluation, etc.)
  2. The financial management of the HR and IHL CSOs is improved and thus contributes to increase their credibility, reputation and professionalism and reduces the risks of mismanagement.
  3. The Palestinian and Israeli CSOs working in the HR/IHL sector have increased their influence through more effective participation in democratic processes and improved networking capacities.
  4. Quality evidence-based systems (sound and professional documentation and monitoring of events) are in place and improve the effectiveness of CSOs’ advocacy work as well as the quality of their dialogue with donors and duty bearers.



Results from previous phases:  

  1. The Secretariat has improved its internal governance (common and more systematic appraisal process) providing a more cost-effective, reliable and predictable funding mechanism for Israeli and Palestinian human rights CSOs operating in the oPt ensuring transparency and reducing risk of double funding.
  2. The Secretariat provided 29 Israeli and Palestinian HR CSOs operating in the oPt with core funding and 34 CSOs with small grants as well as capacity building services in a relatively efficient and effective way improving monitoring and documentation of partners, allowing partner CSOs to contribute efficiently to international fact finding missions.
  3. The Secretariat has provided opportunities for political cooperation and dialogue among donors as well as between donor governments and Palestinian and Israeli CSOs, generating some opportunities for interaction, but resulted in too little joint work and advocacy activities to promote respect for human rights.
  4. The Secretariat partner CSOs championed free legal aid services for thousands of individuals either on residency issues in Jerusalem (won 16 cases), or prisoners and arbitrary arrests (securing the release of hundreds and/or prisoners receiving medical care) as well as legal aid services for women on issues relating to domestic violence, divorce and inheritance.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
International or foreign NGO
  • Other international or foreign NGO North
  • NIRAS Natura AB (Sweden) and Institute of Law, Birzeit University (Palestine. The Swedish Consulate General in Jerusalem is the lead donor and contractor.

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF   4'750'000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF   4'740'000
Project phases

Phase 4 15.07.2013 - 30.06.2018   (Completed)