News article

UK opens legal clinic for Jerusalemites living behind the barrier

This world location news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The British Consulate inaugurated a legal advice centre in a Palestinian neighborhood cut off from Jerusalem by the Separation Barrier.

The British Consulate General in Jerusalem and the Jerusalem Network for Community Advocacy (JCAN) inaugurated today a new legal advice centre in the area of Kufr Aqab, a densely- populated Palestinian neighborhood which is cut off from Jerusalem by the Separation Barrier. The centre will provide legal advice and raise awareness on a range of issues including residency rights for Palestinian Jerusalemites and access to basic services.

Funded by the British Consulate with £337,000 for two years, JCAN is targeting disadvantaged Palestinian communities in Jerusalem with the chief aim of protecting their legal, economic and social rights and therefore improve their living conditions and viability in the city. JCAN, a community-based and volunteer-driven nonprofit, runs already two service centres in Al Tur and Surbaher areas in East Jerusalem.

Since the start of the project in July 2013, JCAN has provided legal services directly to 1,751 Palestinians through its legal clinics. With the help of 500 active local volunteers, JCAN also visited about 680 Palestinian households as part of its awareness campaign on human rights and residency rights.

At the inauguration of the centre, Deputy Consul General Benjamin Saoul said:

Britain is clear that Jerusalem should be a shared capital for Israel and for the future State of Palestine. So it is vital that we protect the Palestinian character of this sacred city. This is what JCAN is achieving: ensuring that Palestinians of Jerusalem have their rights respected, that they have access to services, and that they can continue to call this city their home. I am proud that British funding is making this happen. And even prouder that JCAN is now opening a new centre in Kfur Aqab, a community which needs and deserves our support.

Iyad Shahwan is one of the beneficiaries who through JCAN’s legal help was able to obtain a family unification and be reunited with rest of his family. He said:

Huge thanks to the British Consulate and JCAN for their successful support to my case. I have been struggling to live with my family in Jerusalem for about 20 years. I am very happy about the UK’s stand and support to the residents of Jerusalem and to Palestinians everywhere.

The British Government will continue supporting JCAN’s successful efforts in helping out Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem at its three legal clinics and through its door-to-door awareness outreach campaign. British Prime Minister David Cameron met JCAN Director Manar Njem when he visited Jerusalem earlier this year.