The Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling (WCLAC) is an independent Palestinian, not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation that seeks to develop a democratic Palestinian society based on the principles of gender equality and social justice. Established in Jerusalem in 1991, the organisation has special consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). 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 aims to address the causes and consequences of gender-based violence within the Palestinian community as well as the gender-specific effects of increasing militarisation associated with the Israeli occupation. To this end, WCLAC acts not only to reverse historical negligence, negative cultural legacies and discriminatory social attitudes towards Palestinian women, but also, to address the needs of women victimised by Israel’s violent actions in the occupied Palestinian Territories (oPT). As a leading defender of women’s rights in Palestine, WCLAC is proud of its uncompromising commitment to provide legal aid, social counselling and protection services to women in an environment where human rights abuses are rampant and women’s issues are regularly overlooked.
Vision and Mission
WCLAC’s vision is to see empowered women living in a just and equal Palestinian society where they enjoy all of their human rights.
WCLAC is a Palestinian, feminist, non-governmental organisation that works to protect and promote women’s human rights within the framework of international human rights mechanisms and standards. This is to be undertaken through monitoring, documentation and advocacy at the local and international levels; providing social and legal services to women victims of violence and those whose human rights have been violated; undertaking awareness, advocacy, training and legal reform programmes that ensure gender equality; developing the capacity of grassroots organisations and volunteer groups, all within the framework of an effective organisation that works in a complementary way through the various programme and administrative units and regional offices whose specialised and highly-qualified staff are committed to the vision and mission of the Centre.
Strategic goal 1: Contribute to the protection and empowerment of women suffering discrimination and violence
Strategic goal 2: Promote women’s rights and combat negative practices against women
Strategic goal 3: Develop institutional and human capacity in order to ensure the sustainability, effectiveness and efficiency of WCLAC
The Women's Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling (WCLAC) was established in Jerusalem in 1991 as an independent Palestinian, non-profit, non-governmental organization seeking to contribute to developing a democratic Palestinian society based on principles of equality and social justice between men and women. By forging a feminist vision based on equality and social justice, WCLAC has played a prominent role in addressing gender-based violence in Palestinian society in both private and public spheres.
For nearly two decades, the Centre’s work has bridged the need to address discrimination and violence against women within Palestinian society, and the need to support the national struggle for freedom and independence from Israeli occupation. For WCLAC, both these issues are crucially important, and indeed, related. The protracted military occupation of Palestinian lands limits women’s safety, independence, self-determination and blocks women’s citizenship in a Palestinian nation-state. In addition, national resistance against the occupation can be a factor limiting women’s development as it treats women’s needs as being of secondary importance.
WCLAC has Board of Directors which is elected each year by members of WCLAC’s General Assembly, which meets on a regular basis.
Executive direction of the organisation is led by WCLAC’s General Director, Maha Abu Dayyeh, with the support of a Director of Programmes and a Director of Administration and Finance.
WCLAC’s programme implementation is led by WCLAC’s Director of Programmes. The majority of WCLAC’s work is implemented through three core programme units.
· Capacity-building Unit
· Documentation and Advocacy Unit
· Service Unit
In addition, when undertaking major projects which extend WCLAC into new strategic areas, or which greatly expand WCLAC’s work in one area of implementation, WCLAC forms dedicated teams working on special projects.