Promotion and respect of human rights, gender equality and the international humanitarian law

Switzerland aims at enhancing prospects for Palestinians to live in dignity, prosperity and peace with Israel, via the respect and promotion of human rights, including gender equality, international humanitarian law and the rule of law by all duty bearers. To this end, SDC supports ten Palestinian and Israeli human rights and humanitarian law organizations active in the oPt, which provide legal aid and protection services to the population and advocate for the respect of the international law. 

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Occupied Palestinian Territory
Human rights
Humanitarian Assistance & DRR
Media & freedom of information
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)
Information and communication technology (ICT)
Protection, access & security
Sexual & gender-based violence
Women’s equality organisations and institutions
01.06.2021 - 31.12.2024
CHF  7’770’000
Background The context is characterized by a decades-long Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian territory (the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip), the ongoing closure of the Gaza Strip, a persistent intra-Palestinian divide and a shrinking democratic space. This has been most recently compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, with dramatic impacts on all aspects of the population’s lives. In this framework, there is a persistent need for respect of international human rights law (IHRL) and international humanitarian law (IHL), as well as accountability for all duty-bearers. 
Objectives To contribute to the respect and promotion of human rights, including gender equality, international humanitarian law and the rule of law by all duty bearers in the oPt, through provision of protection services (legal aid and selected services) and evidence-based advocacy efforts offered by capacitated Palestinian and Israeli HR/IHL NGOs, to foster life in dignity, safety and protection of Palestinians in the oPt. 
Target groups

Rights holders:    The protected population in the oPt, specifically women and the most vulnerable categories (minors, detainees, separated families, victims of GBV, farmers and herders in Area C, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, patients in need of urgent and specific medical attention).

Duty bearers:    Israel, Palestinian Authority (PA), de facto Authority in Gaza.

Other stakeholders:    Israeli, Palestinian and international NGOs, the media, the UN agencies in oPt, UN Member States and other international agencies and organizations. 

Medium-term outcomes

Protection – Legal Aid: Provision of quality legal aid and social services for improved protection of people, in particular women and the most vulnerable (minors, prisoners, separated families, victims of GBV, farmers and herders in Area C, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, and lifesaving referral of patients.

Evidence-based advocacy: The respect of Human Rights and IHL is monitored, violations are properly documented and duty bearers’ are faced to their responsibilities. 


Expected results:  

-    Provision of legal aid and counselling;

-    Access to social and legal rights for women in need, and vulnerable categories;

-    Publications of important research, briefs, reports, position papers, press releases on the current HR / IHL situations in the oPt;

-    Evidence-based principled legal challenges to discriminatory practices;

-    Dialogue with third party representations at local and capital level. Bilateral and multilateral meetings held;

-    Monitoring, documentation and reporting on Palestinian acceded instruments and harmonization in local laws.

Results from previous phases:  

-    Provision of meaningful legal aid services to thousands of Palestinians in the oPt (e.g. 200/year family reunifications cases and access to agricultural lands);

-    Provision of protection support to thousands of individuals victims of SGBV (1075 persons/year), including consultations, case management, sheltering, legal representation and counselling;

-    Facilitation of medical referrals (e.g. 2018 PHR-I raising awareness at Knesset on women cancer patients from the Gaza Strip);

-    Developing the capacities of partner NGOs to deliver high quality monitoring and reporting on human rights and IHL trends;

-    COVID-19 pandemic-related response: Psychosocial and legal support, to extend services to the protected population in need.  

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Project partners Contract partner
International or foreign NGO

Other partners

1.    Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel

2.    Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement

3.    HaMoked – Center for the Defence of the Individual

4.    The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy – MIFTAH

5.    Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) Gaza

6.    Physicians for Human Rights (PHR-I)

7.    The Jerusalem Legal Aid & Human Rights Center (JLAC) West Bank

8.    Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling (WCLAC)

9.    Hamleh – The Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media

Coordination with other projects and actors

-    Synergies with other Swiss partners and projects, in particular in the Rule of Law portfolio;

-    Coordination with Swiss offices and instruments;

-    Coordination with other interventions conducted by like-minded countries at local level (e.g. informal HR platform; EU Civil society roadmap). 

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    7’770’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    6’403’371
Project phases Phase 2 01.06.2021 - 31.12.2024   (Current phase) Phase 1 01.05.2018 - 31.12.2020   (Completed)