Saturday, October 15, 2005

Hina Jilani's personal quest for really good falafel

The Special Representative to the Secretary General on Human Rights Defenders, Ms. Hina Jilani, was at our office on Monday. She was officially touring Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories to look at the conditions and challenges faced by human rights defenders. Unofficially, however, she was on a personal quest for the best falafel. Doubtless she came across it in an Arab neighbourhood. ;)

'Human rights defenders' is a term used to describe people who, individually or with others, act to promote or protect human rights.

In regard to the Occupied Palestinian Territories, she wrote this, 'conditions and an environment which place human rights defenders operating in these areas at grave risk and presents serious obstructions in every aspect of their functioning.' (UN OHCHR Press Release, October 11, 2005). Although Israel was comparatively 'freer', she acknowledged the difficulties defenders face here. From Monday's meeting, 2 points immediately spring to mind:

- NGO-ers have bags, computers and other material in their possession probed when travelling abroad.
- Lawyers and their clients are refused privacy to confer with one another in prison; to confer they must use a phone (which is open to the risk of being tapped) and be watched over by prison guards (whom, word has it, are endowed with hearing faculties little seen in this part of the world).

Bottom line?

For really good falafel: must travel to Arab town

No comments: