Palestinian Studies

The Contemporary Colonial Struggle: Palestinian Resistance, Rights and the Law

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

12:00pm – 2:00pm

This webinar will take place online via Zoom. Click here to register

This panel discussion comes at a critical moment of a renewed assault on Palestine and Palestinians and a rekindled worldwide concern for the de-colonial struggle that has been ongoing for over a century for fundamental political and civil rights, material well-being and security, and sovereignty over land and resources. The expert panel will mark these struggles and their legal framing in a conversation around the publication of Al-Haq: The First Palestinian Human Rights Organization by Lynn Welchman.

The book, an open-access publication of the New Directions in Palestinian Studies book series, examines the journey of al-Haq, from its origins in 1979 in Ramallah in the occupied Palestinian Territories to its legacy and international impact. It explores al-Haq’s formative roles in innovating methodologies in law and human rights practice, and in developing legal and policy arguments that significantly shaped and served both theoretical discourse and practical struggle in, about, and beyond Palestine. Law and rights as resistance, as struggle, as the future: al-Haq continues this work today even as we are witnessing yet another massive assault on Palestinians and their rights in international law.

Partner Events

About The Speakers

  • Scott Newton is the head of the School of Law, SOAS. He is Chair of the SOAS Centre of Contemporary Central Asia & the Caucasus. His research interests encompass post-Soviet/post-colonial Eurasian legal geographies; post-colonial regulatory and institutional frameworks for national/international political economy (development and trade); critical constitutionalism; and the allied globalising projects of human rights, rule of law, conflict resolution and good governance.
  • Beshara Doumani is the inaugural Mahmoud Darwish Professor of Palestinian Studies, the first chair of its kind dedicated to this field of study at Brown University. He is also the founding director (2012-2018) of Brown's Center for Middle East Studies (CMES), and founder of New Directions for Palestinian Studies, a CMES initiative since 2012.  Doumani's research focuses on groups, places, and time periods marginalized by mainstream scholarship on the early modern and modern Middle East, with a focus on the social, economic, and legal history of Eastern Mediterranean. Doumani is the editor of a book series on Palestinian Studies published by the University of California Press and co-editor of the Jerusalem Quarterly.
  • Lisa Hajjar is a sociologist who focuses on law and conflict, human rights, political violence, and contemporary international affairs. Her interdisciplinary work contributes to multiple fields in the social sciences and humanities, including Middle East Studies, American Studies, and Law and Society. Her current research focuses primarily on the US “war on terror,” particularly around the issues of torture, targeted killing, and Guantanamo. She also focuses on human rights in the Arab world. Her journalistic writings have been published by The Nation, Al Jazeera English, Middle East Report, and Jadaliyya.
  • Shawan Jabarin is a Palestinian human rights defender who has been the General Director of al-Haq since 2006, after first joining the organisation in 1987 as a fieldworker. He has served as a Commissioner for the ICJ, member of the Human Rights Watch Middle East Advisory Board; been elected as Vice-President and then President of the International Federation of Human Rights Leagues and is the recipient of many distinguished awards for his human rights work, the first being the Reebok Human Rights Award for young human rights defenders (in 1990). Jabarin's reflections and interventions have been widely published, including in Foreign Policy, Open Democracy, and The Independent.
  • Raja Shehadeh is a Palestinian lawyer and writer who lives in Ramallah. He co-founded al-Haq there in 1979 and shared the leadership of the organization until the early 1990s. He was lead author of al-Haq's first ground-breaking publication, The West Bank and the Rule of Law (1980), and published significant works on international law, the Israeli occupation and Palestinian rights. He was legal advisor to the Palestinian delegation to the Madrid and Washington talks that followed the first intifada. He is also the author of highly acclaimed memoirs and diaries and has contributed reflections to the London Review of Books, the New Yorker, The Guardian among others. His Palestinian Walks won the Orwell Prize for Political Writing in 2008.
  • Lynn Welchman is Professor of Law in the Middle East and North Afric, at the SOAS School of Law, and founder of the International Human Rights Clinic. She has published widely in her research areas which include family law, Islamic law, women’s rights and human rights in the Arab world. She is a member of the Open Society Foundation’s MENA Office Advisory Board, and of the board of the Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Support of Human Rights Defenders. She worked with al-Haq for different periods and in different capacities from the early 1980s, and is the author of Al-Haq: A Global History of the First Palestinian Human Rights Organization (2021).
  • Dina Matar is chair, Centre for Palestine Studies, SOAS and Reader in Political Communication. Her research focuses on the intersection of politics and communication, media and activism, oral history and cultural politics in the Arab World. She is co-founder of the Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication; co-editor of the SOAS Palestine Studies book series and co-editor/founder of the book series Political Communication and Media Practices in the Middle East and North Africa.