Randa Siniora_Fotor_Fotor

Randa Siniora
Country/region: Palestine
Conflict: Civil War
Organisation: Women´s Center for Legal Aid and Counselling (WCLAC)
Field of work: Women's rights, human rights, violence

Randa Siniora is a Palestinian human rights and women’s rights defender from Jerusalem who has nearly three decades of experience in international human rights and humanitarian law. Her work has focused on advocacy and networking for progressive change in civil society organizations, UN agencies, and governments at national, regional and international levels. Ms Siniora began her career as a legal researcher and coordinator of the women’s rights programme at Al-Haq, where she later served as director from 2001-2005. She has also worked as a human rights specialist with good-governance organizations in the occupied Palestinian territory, and was Head of the Advocacy and Networking Department at WCLAC from 1997-2001.

Before accepting the position of General Director at WCLAC, she served as the senior Executive Director of the Independent Commission for Human Rights in Palestine. Ms Siniora also serves on the boards of various civil-society organizations.
By forging a feminist vision based on equality and social justice, WCLAC plays a prominent role in addressing gender-based violence in Palestinian society in both the public and private spheres. WCLAC’s core work is direct provision of services for women, including providing social and legal counselling in areas such as divorce, inheritance, custody of children, alimony, residency rights, and legal support for women to claim their rights in court if necessary. WCLAC also provides emergency protection for female victims of violence through a unique shelter facility in the West Bank.

WCLAC’s experience of working directly with women beneficiaries informs initiatives that tackle institutional challenges to women’s rights, including working with the Palestinian Authority to develop national capacity and regulatory frameworks. Advocacy and Legal reform work focuses on areas of law that have the greatest potential for a positive impact on women’s human rights, and WCLAC works closely with duty bearers and key influencers toward gender-justice-driven reforms. WCLAC has established itself as a leading voice in discourse concerning women’s rights abuses within the Palestinian social and cultural context, and its ongoing documentation of cases of femicides (including the so-called “honour" killings) has proved an important tool in advocacy and awareness raising.

In international advocacy efforts, reporting directly relates gender-specific human rights abuses committed by the Israeli occupation to International Humanitarian Law: documenting the gender-specific impact of Israeli breaches of international human rights and humanitarian law, producing evidence-based documentation for international advocacy purposes and submitting reports to UN bodies.

WCLAC works with diverse groups of women with a focus on training external individual and organizational actors to further the principles of women’s rights in their own communities. The Awareness Raising activities seek to change behavior and attitudes toward women and empower them with the knowledge to identify and uphold their own rights. WCLAC trains volunteers who reach out to men and women in strategic locations in the West Bank.