As part of “Lightening Gaza” Campaign, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) organized on Tuesday morning, 15 March 2016, a panel discussion to draft recommendations on the Campaign that started in early 2016. This panel, which is the third of its kind, was attended by a group of experts representing the concerned parties supervising the electricity sector, electricity experts, representatives from CBOs and journalists.
Mr. Khalil Shaheen, Director the PCHR’s Economic and Social Rights Unit, started the panel discussion, explaining that individuals have the right to enjoy basic services, including electricity’s, according to the Palestinian Basic Law and international human rights law. He added that the Campaign aims to come up with solutions for the electricity crisis that exacerbated in the past 10 years.
Engineer Fathi al-Shaikh Khalil, Deputy Director of the Energy Authority and Chairman of Gaza Electricity Distribution Corporation (GEDCo), said that GEDCo was willing to adopt the solutions or suggestions that would contribute to solving the electricity crisis. Al-Shaikh Khalil had remarks on the recommendations, pointing out that putting an end to the electricity crisis as a whole requires a political will in the first place.
Dr. Fadel al-Muzzaini, a researcher at PCHR’s Economic and Social Rights Unit, reviewed a number of recommendations reached in the various panel discussions and activities held by PCHR within the Campaign. He pointed out that these recommendations can be discussed until recommendations are finally concluded to ease the aggravating crisis and improve the power-on hours.
Discussion was then allowed to put forward the recommendations. The participants hoped that this will be a step towards strategic solutions so the electricity service would return all over the Gaza Strip for 24 hours a day on the basis of civilian’s right to enjoy the basic services, including electricity’s, in order to alleviate the suffering resulting from the almost-complete power cut-off.
It should be mentioned that the recommendations they concluded will be reviewed in a petition, which will be signed by organizations and public figures in the Gaza Strip next week. After that, PCHR hopes that this petition would be presented to the National Unity Government and concerned parties supervising the electricity sector.
This joint campaign comes as a part of “Promoting Human Rights and Freedom of Access to Information in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt)” project that is funded by the European Union EU.