The Geneva Center for Security Sector Governance (DCAF) has been working in the Palestinian Territories since 2005 as a neutral and independent organization. It has office in Ramallah. DCAF aims to assist Palestinians in promoting good security sector governance. It encourages the development of effective, efficient, and transparent actors in the areas of security and justice that are subject to the oversight and supervision of the Palestinian executive and legislative authorities, which is fully accountable to Palestinian civil society and its elected leaders.
DCAF contributes to promoting peace and stability in the region. In Ramallah and the West Bank, DCAF supports the Palestinian authorities and oversight bodies at the central and governorate levels (ie the Council of Ministers, the Ministry of Interior, the Palestinian Authority Security Forces, the Palestinian Anti-Corruption Commission, the Constitutional Court, the governorates, etc.).
Find out more about our work in Palestine: Download DCAF Palestine Country Strategy
DCAF has worked in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) since 2005 and has established itself as a trusted and specialist institution, helping its partners to strengthen the rule of law, and increase transparency and accountability. DCAF Palestine projects aimed to contribute to the development of a Palestinian security and justice sector that is legitimate, trusted and respectful of the rule of law and human rights.
The security sector is by far the largest public sector in the oPt, receiving significant international funding and logistical and technical support – and yet, the sector lacks good governance on many levels. Oversight and transparency are weak, laws and policies are often unclear or contrary to international conventions, and the security needs of citizens are frequently not met. DCAF Ramallah projects were designed as a contribution towards addressing these governance and service delivery deficits.
DCAF focused on achieving concrete results on the ground, which benefited not only the Palestinian institutions: The executive and judicial authorities that manage and oversee the security forces, the Palestinian security forces, local governorates, civil and media organisations that oversee the security forces, but it also improved the life of the final beneficiaries: the Palestinian citizens. Additionally, improving democratic governance and building legitimate and accountable Palestinian state institutions is a precondition for lasting peace and regional stability.
Strong public oversight of the security sector is crucial in order to hold security forces accountable. Having effective public oversight in the Palestinian security sector requires accumulative strong effort by different actors, such as formal oversight bodies, the Anti-Corruption Commission, and the Independent Commission of Human Rights (ICHR). DCAF conducted several projects on improving public oversight. It targets improving information-sharing between the media and the security forces and executive authorities. It also organized training workshops for and between the Palestinian Journalists and security forces/authorities to build confidence, consolidate understanding of mutual needs and improve access to information and reform complaints system. It also assisted the Council of Ministers, as well as selected governorates in publishing official data on security-related service provision.
All activities were directly recommended by the Palestinian local partners.
DCAF has worked on strengthening effective oversight in the security sector that aim at strengthening formal and informal oversight mechanisms, focusing on the following activities:
Supporting citizens’ complaints mechanisms:
COUNCIL OF MINISTERS: Since 2010, DCAF has worked in Palestine to support the strengthening of mechanisms that allow citizens to submit complaints about misconduct or violations of citizens’ rights by public institutions and security agencies. This in turn improves the accountability, and perception of the security forces, and helps them direct their services towards the needs of citizens. DCAF projects aimed at reforming the Palestinian complaints system to be in line with international standards to respond to citizen’s complaints more effectively.
DCAF has worked to improve the effectiveness of complaints mechanisms in the Palestinian security sector, their transparency and the coordination between the mechanisms.
To this end, it has supported the Palestinian institutions in
Supporting oversight bodies: Public oversight bodies play an important role, especially when it comes to financial oversight and anti-corruption efforts. In the occupied Palestinian territories this role is exercised by two independent authorities, the Palestinian State Audit and Administrative Control Bureau (SAACB) and the Palestinian Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC). It is part of their mandate to strengthen the internal control mechanisms of the security forces and in the long-term build a fruitful working relationship with all security forces.
State Audit and Administrative Control Bureau (SAACB): DCAF has supported SAACB in building the capacities of its financial controllers to enhance their skills in fighting corruption and prevention measures. This in turn will strengthen their access and role in working with the executive authority and the security forces.
Palestinian Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC): DCAF has supported PACC in developing regulations and organizing training workshops and conferences to build confidence, consolidate understanding of mutual needs, and improve access to information and transparency. This in turn will strengthen PACC access and role in working with the executive authority and the security forces. DCAF in cooperation with PACC published two handbooks on Gifts Regulations and Disclosure of Conflict of Interests Regulations.
Supporting informal oversight organizations: DCAF worked with and supported civil society organizations by building their capacities to monitor detention centers. DCAF in cooperation with Al-Haq developed monitoring methodology of the prison system in Palestine, prepare human rights monitors for visits to detention spaces to build an observatory of the situation of torture in Palestine, provide periodic reports and help develop national strategies against torture and the Prevention of Torture. Awareness and capacity building training also was conducted to train the staff of concerned civil society organizations to promote human rights and combat torture. DCAF in cooperation with Al Haq a Publication on ‘Prevention of Torture, Monitoring, Documentation, and Means of Confrontation Report’.
DCAF supports security agencies and other public institutions on more effective communication and information-sharing. The aim is to improve public access to information concerning the security sector, empower media and other oversight actors, thus promoting accountability.
COUNCIL OF MINISTERS:
Since 2014, DCAF has supported the Council of Ministers in developing and publishing the annual report on complaints which improves information-sharing by the security forces and executive authorities. This contributes to have Palestinian security institution more accountable towards Palestinian citizens through strengthened oversight by means of enhancing the complaints system and developed capacities of oversight institutions.
Improving information-sharing between media and security forces:
DCAF organized debate sessions between journalists and the public relations staff in the security forces to improve communication and bridge the gap between the journalists and the security officers in the field. DCAF in cooperation with the Human Rights Unit in the Ministry of Interior developed Guidelines on how journalists and security officers should deal with each other and to guide them on how to act when they cover events in which security officers are present. The guidelines strengthen the level of communication between the journalists and the security officers.
In 2020, Palestinian citizens were informed of the utility and accessibility of existing complaints mechanisms at the Palestinian Civil Police (PCP) during the state of emergency by means of a public awareness-raising campaign facilitated by DCAF and Wattan Media Network in the form of three public service announcements (PSAs). During this same period, DCAF and Wattan broadcasted four radio interviews where senior representatives of the PCP engaged directly with citizens in facilitated dialogues regarding the impact of the state of emergency, complaints mechanisms, and the usage of the complaints system in instances of domestic violence. This initiative became even more essential due to the isolating and restrictive nature of the COVID-19 pandemic.
DCAF fosters the capacity of local stakeholders to develop effective Palestinian legislation in line with international standards. To ensure that the legislative reform process in the oPt takes place on a solid basis, DCAF facilitated a broad and inclusive process, organising consultations between Palestinian civil society representatives and the security institutions, to discuss existing and draft security legislation.
Ministry of Interior:
Office of President:
Supported the PA in reflecting international conventions it had ratified both in terms of national legislation and practice of the security forces.
Independent Commission of Human Rights (ICHR)
DCAF published a report on the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT).
As practical steps to improve the practices of the security forces and detention centres, DCAF implemented two one-week trainings for senior security officers on obligations of international human rights treaties, including the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT).
DCAF supports national and local efforts to improve the gender balance amongst security forces and works to promote the security needs of all Palestinians. Since 2009, DCAF implemented several projects on women and security, which aimed to assist the Palestinian security forces, in particular, Gender Units in the Security Forces, in strengthening the capacity of its personnel to deliver their services in a gender-sensitive manner, and to contribute to their understanding of human rights and international regulations, such as the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325).
Ministry of Interior:
DCAF in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior implemented the following activities:
In cooperation with Human Rights and Democracy Media Centre (SHAMS), we have worked on community safety projects since 2008. As a result of the partnership:
Facilitating Palestinian national reconciliation:
DCAF worked on facilitating Palestinian national reconciliation by improving the human rights situation in Gaza. This contributed towards reducing grievances and maintaining institutional coherence between the West Bank and Gaza.
DCAF contributes to the development of strategic management skills and structures to enable representatives of the Palestinian authorities to adjust their planning to the strategic environment.
Ministry of Interior:
Palestinian Anti-Corruption Commission and the security forces:
Governorates of Hebron, Jenin, Bethlehem and Tulkarem:
Civil society organizations and media outlets:
National Prevention Mechanisms
DCAF is already actively involved in the lead up to the establishment of the NPM following the PA’s ratification of the OPCAT. Its work has focused on creating a platform for policy discussions between key stakeholders and decisionmakers, raising awareness of the mechanism within civil society (trainings for youth leaders with the NGO Al-Haq), and supporting the development of the mechanism’s legal framework.
Marsad Palestine is an online observatory that monitors the Palestinian Security Sector. It provides search tools to allow stakeholders to easily access the information. Marsad monitors media reporting, research, analysis, and events related to the security sector in Palestine, and publishes them on a daily basis. To this end, relevant press articles, research papers, books, sound clips, videos, and photos are stored in an online database and accessible to the public. Further to this, a timeline on the website continuously updates relevant events and incidents related to the Palestinian security sector.
Marsad seeks to contribute to an informed and inclusive debate regarding the security sector in Palestine and operates on a non-partisan and independent basis. It is a concrete entry point to support local media organizations and provide the opportunity for improving local reporting on which Marsad can rely in the future.
Marsad Palestine is managed by the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) division of DCAF.
To learn more about the platform, please visit www.marsad.ps
You can reach our team via: firstname.lastname@example.org
DCAF runs an online database of security sector legislation in the oPt which is free, easy to access, and provides all stakeholders with an overview of legislative reform needs. The Palestinian security sector legal database provides:
Legal Database for the security sector legislation in Palestine Website: https://security-legislation.ps/
|Eman Redwan||Acting Head, DCAF Ramallah Office|
|Samah Khoury||Operations Support Manager|
|Intisar Abukhalaf||Project Manager|
|Ahmad Atta||Logistical Assistant|
Eman Redwan: Acting Head, DCAF Ramallah Office (email@example.com)
Mark Ewing, Head of Middle East Desk (firstname.lastname@example.org)