Mervat Rishmawi - Human Rights Consultant: Research, Training and Policy Analysis
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Palestinian … but where from?
Sorry I have not been writing
Gaza and the World Cup
Egypt in turmoil
Human Rights Defenders: paying the price of bearing witness

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Palestinian ... but where from?
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Palestinian … but where from?

Palestinian … but where from?

Quite often when I meet people for the first time they ask me where I am from?  I say Palestine! But where from, they ask, as they insist to know more details?

I find this very difficult to answer: I and all my 4 siblings were born in Gaza … lived there for a few years, but then we moved to Ramallah when my father’s work at the UNRWA[1] training centre moved from Gaza to the West Bank. We lived in the West Bank for much of our lives. Now I live in Britain, and 3 of my other siblings also live outside Palestine.

Sorry I have not been writing

Sorry I have not been posting my thoughts ... I have been thinking ... new blogs soon!

Gaza and the World Cup

Gaza and the world cup

Excuse this stream of consciousness, but I cannot find a way to put these confusing issues in an organised train of thought, and I am not going to try do that….  

The last few days has resulted in close to 200 deaths in Gaza and over 11000 injuries. Less than ten people have been injured in Israel.

While the world is watching the finals of the world cup tonight, the bombardment of Gaza Strip by Israel continues feverishly. If one only changes the TV channel to watch news, as I am doing, one immediately hears as the first item that an extended family of 18 people were all just wiped out in a strike by Israel, on the pretext that the head of the family is the chief of the police.

Egypt in turmoil

I have been travelling to Egypt frequently in the last two years. I happened to be there just when the revolution stated and was traveling out of the country on January 28th 2011, just before the first massive protest took place which lead to the overthrow of Mubarak. I then saw the sheer of determination of protesters to change Egypt. 

I went to Egypt many times after that for human rights meetings (Egypt is a hub for meetings for Arab countries). When I used to speak with friends there, I could not help feeling a strong sense of anger that what was happening in the country after President Mubarak left power was not what they have aimed to achieve!

Human Rights Defenders: paying the price of bearing witness

The Human Rights Council of the UN is convening now. One of the main issues that is being pushed forward by a number of prominent NGOs and some states is the need for a serious discussion on protection of human rights defenders who cooperate with UN mechanisms. This is not a new issue! and despite repeated alarm by various UN expert bodies in the past, it continues to pop up in new forms.

 In the last session of the Council, and after the Universal Periodic Review of Bahrain, the Chairperson of the Council raised concern over reports of intimidation and smear campaigns against human rights defenders who participated in the review.

the Olympics

The Olympics

Being based in Britain and watching the Olympics feels very strange. While I am enjoying very much watching some sports which I like, I cannot help but feel I wish we have same facilities in Palestine and the rest of the Middle East. 

Why can't we enjoy the same? Yet again, while I am thinking this I read the news that the Palestinian authorities have finally secured some funds and will be able to pay the huge backlog of salaries owed to Palestinian employees. Money which is owed to us by Israel, which collects taxes, dues and revenues, and never pays it to the PA!

What will the future bring

What will the future bring? 

Most of the news these days is about excitement in parts of Libya about the Libyan elections ... a pessimistic  feeling or cautious attitude by many in Egypt about the results of the Egyptian elections together with a lot of hype in Tunisia about the drafting of the constitution ... 

The results of the elections in the region are very important for us as human rights activists. New debates about universality of human rights are expected to start. Some may challenge the very tools we have used for many years for our struggle and human rights work under the dictatorship regimes.

welcome to my blog

Dear colleagues

Visit my tweet @mervatrishmawi to get recent news related to human rights in the Middle East and North Africa. I will be regularly posting news from organisations and activists working on the region, as well as updates on events.

I will also post blogs on work I am undertaking, including debates in conferences in the region. 
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