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NGOs form coalition to defend freedom of expression

(MADA/IFEX) - 14 February 2011 - Seventeen Palestinian human rights, women's, media and youth organizations announced yesterday that they will be joining forces to form a coalition focused on defending freedom of expression in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt), with press freedom at the top of the agenda.

Initiated by the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA), the participating organizations agreed to form a coalition after holding a number of preliminary meetings in Ramallah and Gaza in early 2011.

All of the organizations involved believe in the importance of a joint effort led by civil society institutions to develop respect for freedom of expression in the oPt, as guaranteed by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Palestinian Basic Law, in harmony with their role in enhancing democracy and human rights. This is especially important given the ongoing violations of freedom of expression and the rights of Palestinians, most of which have been perpetrated by the Israeli occupation forces and Israeli settlers but which have also been committed by Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The coalition will implement numerous initiatives to achieve its goals in cooperating with all the parties concerned to advance freedom of expression in the oPt. The coalition membership will be open to civil society organizations and individuals who are active in this field.

The following are the institutions participating in the freedom of expression coalition:

1 - Al-Haq-Law in the Service of Man
2 - Aldameer Association for Human Rights
3 - Creative Women Forum
4 - Center for the Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights (Hurryyat)
5 - Media Development Center - Birzeit University
6 - Observatory of the Arab World to Democracy and Elections (MARSAD)
7 - Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA)
8 - Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR)
9 - Palestine News Network (PNN)
10 - Pen Media
11 - Palestinian Institute for Communication and Development
12 - Ramallah Center for Human Rights Studies (RCHRS)
13 - Women Journalists South Forum
14 - Sharek Youth Forum
15 - Treatment and Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture (TRC)
16 – Women's Affairs Technical Committee
17 - Hureya Media Center

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