Last week Al-Haq's Center for Applied International Law hosted the Palestine Works Law Fellows Conference. The law fellows are a group of students, primarily from law schools in the United States, who are undertaking summer internships with various Palestinian and Israeli human rights organisations. Al-Haq appreciates the invaluable contribution that interns make to its work, as well as the significance of the internship experience to the students themselves. Al-Haq chose to host the Law Fellows Conference as part of its ongoing objective to encourage and facilitate the engagement of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).
The conference had two primary aims. Firstly, Al-Haq sought to familiarise the law fellows with a range of organisations working in the OPT. To this end, the conference included presentations from various Palestinian, Israeli and international institutions, all of which were followed by discussions between the law fellows and the respective institutional representatives. These engagements allowed the law fellows to better understand the broad nature of the human rights challenges faced in the OPT and how different institutions address these challenges. These discussions also helped in establishing points of contact should the fellows come across any specific issues during their internship that they wish to address further.
The second aim of the conference was to provide the law fellows with on-the-ground field experience. Having hosted a multitude of international visitors over the years, Al-Haq believes that only by witnessing first-hand the situation faced by Palestinians can individuals understand the challenges that arise in seeking to uphold Palestinian human rights. Al-Haq organised for its field workers and legal researchers to take the law fellows on three field visits; to the village of Qatana in North-East Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley and the Old City of Hebron. Al-Haq hopes that by having field experience early in their internships, the law fellows will better understand the context and significance of the work they carry out during their time in the OPT.
The overall goal of this conference was to equip the law fellows with the knowledge to make their internship experience more valuable, not only for the fellows themselves, but also for their respective host institutions.