Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association
ADDAMEER (Arabic for conscience) Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association is a Palestinian non-governmental, civil institution which focuses on human rights issues. Established in 1992 by a group of activists interested in human rights, the center offers support to Palestinian prisoners, advocates the rights of political prisoners, and works to end torture through monitoring, legal procedures and solidarity campaigns.
Addameer Association is constituted of four main programs, namely its legal unit, research and documentation unity, advocacy Unit and Training and Awareness Program. 1. Legal Aid Program: Addameer provides free legal counseling and representation to hundreds of Palestinian detainees and their families on an annual basis. Services include legal defence before mainly Israeli but recently also Palestinian courts, regular visits to prisons, detention and interrogation centres, submission of petitions against the extension of the detention period, trials and punishments imposed on detainees, as well as submission of complaints against cases of torture, ill-treatment and other violations.
2. Research and Documentation: Addameer documents violations committed against Palestinian detainees and monitors their detention conditions through regular lawyers’ visits to Israeli prisons. In 2007, Addameer started documenting violations committed in Palestinian Authority prisons against political prisoners. The information gathered through visits, complemented by Addameer’s legal work provides the basis for the publication of the association’s research papers and reports. At the same time, the unit compiles monthly statistics and lists of detainees.
3. Advocacy and Lobbying: Addameer regularly publishes public statements and urgent appeals on behalf of detainees, submits alternative and shadow reports to the United Nations, briefs international delegations as well as the media on the situation of Palestinian prisoners. The Unit also works towards building local, Arab and international solidarity campaigns to oppose torture and arbitrary detention while supporting the rights of Palestinian prisoners.
4. Training and Awareness: In 2007, Addameer established its Training and Awareness Unit to raise local awareness on prisoners’ rights by working on three levels: firstly, by training Palestinian lawyers on the laws and procedures used in Israeli military courts to improve their efficiency; secondly, by increasing prisoners’ knowledge, and finally by reviving grassroots human rights activism and volunteerism and working closely with community activists to increase their knowledge of civil and political rights from an international humanitarian law and international human rights perspective.
Addameer is a member of the Executive Committee of the Palestinian NGO Network, the Palestinian Council of Human Rights Organizations, and works closely with international human rights organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, OMCT and FIDH to provide regular information on the situation of Palestinian political detainees.