Date of Award
Master of Social Work (MSW)
Human rights are fundamental rights that belong to all human beings. They include the right to life, liberty and equality. Upholding human rights is the most universal form of social justice. International human rights legislation and humanitarian law have been established to protect the security and dignity of all people. Increasingly, International Human Rights Organizations are working to enhance human rights norms across the globe.
Using the Israeli/Palestinian conflict as a case study, this thesis aims to provide a better understanding of international human rights work, the ways in which this work is addressed, and the experiences of individuals involved in human rights work. In-depth interviews with four individuals working in Canadian-based organizations strive to identify their challenges and successes as they engage in advocacy and grassroots activism.
My intention in undertaking this research project was to develop an understanding of the work of International Human Rights Organizations in Canada that are promoting Palestinian human rights. What I found was another story: a story of the perceptions and meanings assigned to this work by those engaged within Canadian human rights organizations.
Three important findings emerged from data collected during the interview process: 1) individuals are engaged with International Human Rights Organizations to reinforce their own personal and political beliefs; 2) there is little decision-making power nor meaningful participation of the Palestinian community in the work of lnternational Human Rights Organizations; and, 3) there is a need for International Human Rights Organizations to consider the local implications of the international conflict.
Information resulting from this research contributes to our understanding of how International Human Rights Organizations can most effectively engage in social change work to promote social justice in Israel and the Occupied Territories of Palestine, and whether that is best accomplished through advocacy and activism locally or internationally.
Okanik, Keri, "Supporting Human Rights in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories: An International Social Justice Response" (2010). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 4381.
McMaster University Library