ADDAMEER (Arabic for conscience) Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association is a Palestinian non-governmental, civil institution that works to support Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli and Palestinian prisons. Established in 1991 by a group of activists interested in human rights, the center offers free legal aid to political prisoners, advocates their rights at the national and international level, and works to end torture and other violations of prisoners' rights through monitoring, legal procedures and solidarity campaigns.
The Programs of Addameer
- Legal Aid Unit: Since its founding, Addameer's legal aid work has formed the backbone of the organization's work, with Addameer's lawyers providing free legal representation and advice to hundreds of Palestinian detainees and their families every year, and working on precedent-setting cases of torture, fair trials and other violations affecting political prisoners.
- Documentation and Research Unit: Addameer documents violations committed against Palestinian detainees and monitors their detention conditions through regular prison visits, and collects detailed statistics and information on detainees, which serve as the basis for its annual and thematic publications.
- Advocacy and Lobbying Unit: Addameer's advocacy work is aimed primarily at the international community, with the unit publishing statements and urgent appeals on behalf of detainees, briefing international delegations and the media, and submitting reports and individual complaints to the United Nations, urging stakeholders to pressure Israel to change its policies. The unit also works towards building local, Arab and international solidarity campaigns to oppose arbitrary detention and torture while supporting the rights of Palestinian prisoners.
- Training and Awareness Unit: Addameer raises local awareness of prisoners’ rights on three levels: by training Palestinian lawyers on the laws and procedures used in Israeli military courts; by increasing the prisoners’ own knowledge of their rights; and 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 believes in the importance of building a free and democratic Palestinian society based on justice, equality, rule of law and respect for human rights within the larger framework of the right to self-determination. Addameer's work is based on a belief in the universality of human rights as enshrined in international law.
- End torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment inflicted upon Palestinian prisoners;
- Abolish the death penalty;
- End arbitrary detentions and arrests;
- Guarantee fair, impartial and public trials;
- Support political prisoners and their families by providing them with legal aid and social and moral assistance and undertaking advocacy on their behalf;
- Push for legislations that guarantee human rights and basic freedoms and ensure their implementation on the ground;
- Raise awareness of human rights and rule of law issues in the local community;
- Ensure respect for democratic values in the local community, based on political diversity and freedom of opinion and expression;
- Lobby for international support and solidarity for Palestinians’ legitimate rights.
Addameer has been actively involved in the development of Palestinian civil society since its establishment. In particular, in its role as an executive member of the Palestinian NGO Network and the Palestinian Council of Human Rights Organizations, Addameer plays an important role in structuring the response of civil society to human rights violations, as well as directing strategies for increased community awareness. This has also placed the association in a unique position because of its strong commitment and relationship to the local community. Community involvement remains the backbone of the organization, in the form of volunteerism and support for all activities of the association and its campaigns.
Addameer strives to be more than a service-oriented association, but rather a resource for the local and international community to address human rights violations. In that regard, Addameer also 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.