Dr. Sana Al-Sarghali Gives a Talk about the Constitutional Building Process at the Australian Parliament
Dr. Sana Al-Sarghali, Assistant Professor at An-Najah and Chair of An-Najah Constitutional Studies Centre was invited by H.E the Palestinian Ambassador Dr. Izzat Abdulhadi to deliver a talk at the Australian House of Parliament in Canberra.
The talk titled: "Constitutional Building Process in Palestine" focused on the relatively un-seen constitutional moment that Palestine is having. The Palestinian constitutional framework has not been in the spotlight for many years as, in the face of political instability and the issue of occupation, it has not been considered a pressing concern. However, for a country undergoing a double transition like Palestine, a transition to democracy and a transition to statehood, having a solid constitution is of a huge importance. Indeed, whilst a constitution may not build a school or educate a child it does guarantee certain rights, like gender equality and education, which are pressing and crucial issues requiring an immediate response.
Despite the power of the constitutional document to give traction to, and bring into being, basic laws and rights, there is a danger that a constitution may be drafted for purely symbolic reasons; used only to indicate the sovereignty of the state without focusing on making it the supreme law that protects citizens and constrains power. Part of her advocacy work in Palestine is to ensure that its newly drafted constitution becomes more than a symbolic exercise.
In her talk, Dr. Al-Sarghali focused on the awareness campaign, of which the centre is part, to ensure Palestinians, regardless of their age and gender, are aware of their rights, duties and how they could be true owners of their constitutional document.
The talk also addressed what have been achieved so far regarding the topic. Through the Constitutional Studies Centre at An-Najah and the NGOs ‘Women Media and Development’ (TAM) and MIFTAH, she succeeded to establish key constitutional principles for Palestine's future constitutional document.
Dr. Al-Sarghali said: "Perhaps the biggest achievement of the campaign so far is including the notion of ‘founding mothers’, as well as ‘founding fathers’ in the constitution. This is part of a wider project to ensure the future Palestinian constitution is engendered i.e. gender sensitive; recognizing the equal status of both men and women."