Issam Aruri, civil-society organizations veteran, discusses issues and challenges in public administration lecture

Issam Aruri, commissioner general of the Independent Commission for Human Rights in Palestine and director general of the Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center, was a guest speaker of the the “Management of Non-Profit Civil Organizations Course” on October 6, 2021, offered by Birzeit University’s Department of Public Administration at the Faculty of Law and Public Administration.

Aruri, a founding member of the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), a coalition of 140 Palestinian civil society organizations, introduced the participating students to the importance of understanding and analyzing the government’s interaction with the civil society and its institutions.

The guest speaker started the lecture by giving a brief introduction on the work of civil society organizations in Palestine, noting that there are only 3600 non-governmental Palestinian institutions, which is a low number compared to other countries around the world.

Aruri explained the most fundamental challenges that face civil society organizations in Palestine and discussed their complementary relationship with the government, stressing the importance of increasing the civil society’s engagement and participation in setting national priorities as well as in the policy planning and implementation processes.

One of the most pressing challenges that civil society institutions in Palestine face is corruption, according to Aruri. He noted that there are not enough laws enacted in Palestine that criminalize certain forms of corruption. “Laws and regulations, in addition to raising awareness on the dangers of corruption, are all necessary to allow civil society organizations to play their roles in the community,” Aruri concluded.