Engaging victims to develop a community education user friendly guide “know your rights” titled “Detainees Guide”

The Treatment and Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture (TRC) developed a user friendly guide to raise awareness about the rights of detainees in Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). The process engaged people whose rights had been violated in order to understand what the broader community actually needed to know about their rights in order to claim them and prevent future abuse. The process combined community focus groups, field experience and legal expertise.

The environment is characterized by weak respect of fair trial procedures, especially at the stages of arrest, detention, and investigation. In response, TRC decided to develop and publish a practical user-friendly guide presenting the rights of detainees under local laws and International Human Rights law.

First, TRC conducted focus group meetings with the beneficiaries of the services, torture survivors and TRC staff members with the objective to create the framework and structure of the guide based on real life and field experiences.

Second, TRC solicited the expertise of an expert in International Human Rights law to provide the technical and legal aspects of the guide to ensure accuracy. This provided TRC with a solid base of understanding regarding what information the community would need in order to exercise their rights.

Third, the practical guide was reviewed by a consultative committee composed of Hurryyat (a partner NGO), two lawyers, one human rights expert, and TRC staff.

Finally, after the production of the practical guide, it was ready for distribution. To ensure the utmost benefit of the guide, TRC distributed the guide into the hands of the community at large. To that end, TRC targeted a large number of Palestinian civil society organizations, and launched several raising awareness workshops that were conducted in collaboration with other NGOs in order to promote the practical guide and its usefulness. Thus, approximately 5000 copies were distributed to NGOs, libraries, youth center libraries, schools and universities, even the law enforcement agencies and the target group of the youth and others.

The Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre for Victims of Torture (TRC) is an independent, non-governmental and non-profit human rights organization. TRC aims to promote human rights in Palestine by researching and disseminating information regarding the plight of the victims of; reduces the traumatic and devastating physical and psychological consequences of torture and politically motivated violence through its treatment and rehabilitation program; and build the capacity of the workers in the field of mental health and human rights; and combats impunity through its advocacy and lobbying programs towards decision makers to enforce strict legislations against torture. TRC has become a forerunner for the documentation, promotion and dissemination of information regarding human rights throughout Palestine.


New Tactics in Human Rights does not advocate for or endorse specific tactics, policies or issues.

What we can learn from this tactic: 

Part of what is unique about this tactic is its reliance on both the practical experiences of victims of human rights violations as well as legal experts to demystify a complicated process and provide needed information to others who may be subjected to detention in the future.