TAM organized a five day training aimed at promoting awareness of the laws and policies protecting mentally disabled people under both international and Palestinian law. The training targeted those with mental disabilities as well as civil society organization representatives in As-Samu, Al-Eizariyah and Bethlehem. 22 individuals of various backgrounds attended the training, including two representatives from the As-Samu and Al-Eizariyah local councils.
The training focused on increasing participants’ knowledge of mentally disabled people’s rights as outlined in international human rights law and Palestinian national law. The training emphasized the fundamentals of the laws and treaties protecting the mentally disabled with an emphasis on Palestine itself. Over the course of the workshop, the trainees made significant gains in their knowledge of these rights, came to recognize the importance of advocating for and demanding them, and accepted them as an integral component of human rights law overall. In addition,they developed an understanding of the mechanisms and procedures for addressing violations of the rights of the mentally disabled at the national level, including avenues for taking legal action in defense of these rights.
The training culminated in the development of an ethical charter by the participants. This charter outlined the responsibilities and obligations partner organizations had with respect to the rights of the mentally disabled. This charter will serve as a platform for continued dialogue on the issue and as a reference moving forward. The participants also created a Facebook group in order to facilitate continued communication on the matter. It is the hope and goal of TAM that the issue will remain a priority for all of those who participated in the training session.