Annual Report for the year 2015
The Democracy and Workers’ Rights Center in Palestine has been working to promote democracy, social justice and equality for the past 22 years in the West Bank & Gaza Strip, as well as in the Arab region. The general political, economic and social situation context continued to be extremely difficult in 2015, due to the escalating colonization policies and repression of the Israeli occupying power, constant obstacles to movement of people & goods, the blockade on the Gaza Strip & lack of recovery after the 2014 war, which further weakened the Palestinian economy. For our target groups, this translated into higher unemployment rates and greater vulnerability to violations of their rights at work, particularly for women & youth. On the other hand, the absence of progress in the national reconciliation process and the growing democracy deficit, with the inability of the national consensus government to exercise its authority in the Gaza Strip and growing disparities in the legal framework, have made the role of civil society organizations all the more important, while generating serious difficulties in the ability to influence policies effectively. Severe restrictions on the right to organize, widespread lack of implementation of labor legislation and absence of labor courts have affected our target groups’ capacity to organize, defend and claim their rights individually & collectively. Despite these difficult circumstances, DWRC was able to support Palestinian female & male workers and trade unions in defending & claiming rights, and raising their voices to Palestinian decision-makers. Overall, our activities enabled us to benefit and reach 10898 workers & citizens, 27% of them women.
Our main achievements in 2015 were as follows:
Under our Strategic objective 1, we worked on strengthening freedom of association and the right to organize, through raising awareness about this right, advocating for an improvement of the legal framework & removal of restrictions, providing legal, technical and material assistance to workers & unions to strengthen democratic practices in trade union & their bargaining capacity.
Under our Strategic objectives 2, 3 & 4, we continued to strive to guarantee the right to access to justice for female and male Palestinian workers through providing legal services to workers and trade unions, and legal advice to some employers, coordinating & referring cases of violations to the Labor Ministry (inspection department & labor relations department) and advocating for the development of alternative mechanisms to solve labor disputes to reduce the backlog of cases in the judicial system.
We also aimed at strengthening respect for human rights in workplaces, among the labor movement and youth through spreading awareness of rights among workers & employers, working with the labor inspection department, building the capacities of trade unionists, monitoring & documenting violations of rights & advocating for the development of legislation.
At the international level, DWRC General Director was elected in the new board of the International Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Network (ESCR-Net), as representative for the Arab region. This will be a great opportunity to strengthen our cooperation and coordination with other organizations and social movements in the region and worldwide in order to promote economic, social and cultural rights as guaranteed by international conventions.
In addition, DWRC undertook interventions in the Gaza Strip in 2015 that aimed at contributing to civil society efforts to alleviate the effects of the 2014 war for Gaza’s population and empowering women in two fishing communities, whose livelihoods are constantly under attack by the Israeli occupying power.
For further details, please click on the pdf file:"DWRC- Annual Report of the year 2015"