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Law and human rights annual report 2000/2001

Activities in the Middle East and North Africa

The British Council in East Jerusalem

  • Assisted in the drafting of a five-year development plan for the Palestinian Legislative Council which set out the PLC's development targets and strategies for achieving its vision. This project formed part of the Strengthening parliamentary democracy project which is aimed at strengthening the capacity of the PLC to serve as a democratic, professional, accountable and responsive parliament for the Palestinian people.

  • Established a Public Administration Network of Knowledge. Continued to manage the Palestinian Rights Programme in its second year of operation. The programme covers issues relating to children, media, the rule of law, civil society, and women.

  • Secured an extension of two years to the DfID Gender and law project, which is aimed at improving the de facto and de jure protection of women's rights through law and social and economic policy, and increasing the effectiveness of Palestinian institutions and pressure groups working for gender equitable legislation and policy.

  • Secured a one-year extension to the DfID Parliamentary Library project to develop the Gaza branch of the Palestinian Legislative Council's library.
The British Council in Egypt

  • Supported the second International conference of the human rights movement in the Arab world which took place in Cairo in October 2000 with the theme of Human rights education and dissemination in the 21st century. The conference brought together around 100 human rights experts and defenders from 40 human rights groups from 14 Arab countries, as well as experts from Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe.

  • Supported the Egyptian Centre for Women's Rights, a Cairo-based civil society organisation, in carrying out programmes to enable women to obtain their rights and to encourage them to participate in political life so that more women get elected in the future.

  • Worked with the Arab Centre for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Professions (ACJLP) with the aim of improving legal education in the undergraduate faculties of law at Egyptian universities and introducing human rights elements into their curricula.
The British Council in Jordan

  • Managed the project Towards democratic thinking, assisting the Jordan University of Science and Technology to develop the skills of university staff to provide university students with extra-curricular activities which promote democracy, civil rights, gender equity and religious and cross-cultural understanding and respect. A pilot programme and training workshops for over 50 participants and a UK visit have taken place and more workshops are planned.

  • Continues to manage the Jordan family protection project, the objectives of which are to build the capacity of public and voluntary institutions in Jordan to develop and implement an integrated strategy to prevent domestic violence and child physical and sexual abuse. Several consultancy visits took place during 2000 to provide technical support to working groups on childrenís services, womenís services and others.
The British Council in Lebanon

  • Managed the visit of UK specialists to take part in an international mission to look at the state of prisons in Lebanon and make recommendations for penal reform. A week of prison visits was followed by a conference in Beirut which was attended by over 130 members of the Lebanese legal profession and security forces. The recommendations of the mission were presented to the Government of Lebanon in August.
The British Council in Morocco

  • Organised training for representatives of the media, focusing on economic reporting.

  • Ran human rights awareness raising workshops, facilitated by UK experts, on behalf of the Moroccan Centre for Human Rights Documentation and Training. Representatives of NGOs, journalists, lawyers and parliamentarians took part. Assistance is also being given to the Centre to set up a website.

  • Organised two visits by a UK consultant to set up a working group and to develop materials and training for human rights education and a distance learning programme.

  • Managed a project to develop materials and training for the introduction of human rights teaching into the secondary school curriculum. A follow-up visit to the UK by a group of teachers was also arranged.

  • Ran a seminar on alternatives to imprisonment with international (including UK) speakers. The seminar focused specifically on community service and probation.

  • Organised the visit of a UK consultant to carry out the training needs analysis for a training programme in specific areas of management and business for the magistrates of the Marrakech Commercial Court of Appeal and the Court of First Instance.

  • Managed a project on civil service reform which addressed issues connected with the evaluation and recruitment of civil servants and which considered the feasibility of introducing a Citizenís Charter in Morocco.
The British Council in the Sudan

  • Organised with a British lawyer training in human rights awareness for 20 members of the judiciary.

  • Arranged the visit of a UK consultant to conduct a training course on legislative drafting for 20 senior members of the Ministry of Justice and the Advisory Council on Human Rights. The focus of the training was the incorporation of human rights into Sudanese law.

  • Hosted a number of lectures on various human rights related themes including Law and human rights in the UK, Penal reforms in Africa, and Inter-religious dialogue.
The British Council in Yemen

  • Managed the final year of a three-year project, Children painting their rights, which aimed to raise awareness of the rights of the child in Yemen using creative media. An exhibition of paintings by children was held in the National Museum and followed by smaller touring exhibitions which also featured lectures, music and the distribution of learning materials for children.

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