Ramallah, December 16, 2014—The board of Defense for Children International - Palestine officially announced on Monday the appointment of Khaled Quzmar as General Director.
"In my new role, I plan to enhance our ability to defend and protect children's rights by deepening relationships with existing supporters and expanding the reach of our information and documentation to raise awareness about the situation of Palestinian children's rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory," said Khaled Quzmar. "With over 20 years investigating, documenting and pursuing accountability on behalf of Palestinian children, our expertise as an organization is unparalleled and positions us well to lead and grow a movement demanding justice and accountability. I will strive to ensure freedom, dignity, and justice for Palestinian children."
Quzmar joined DCI-Palestine in 1995 as a lawyer representing Palestinian children in Israeli military courts. He rose through the ranks to become administrative and legal affairs director. He holds a masters in international human rights law.
The incumbent General Director, Rifat Odeh Kassis, will be moving on after six years at the helm of the organization that he founded in 1991. He will relocate to Jordan to lead the Lutheran World Federation's emergency response for Syrian refugees and vulnerable Jordanians in host communities.
Kassis worked tirelessly at the local, regional and international levels to build a movement demanding justice and accountability for Palestinian children's rights. Kassis was the driving force in establishing and strengthening Defence for Children International's Middle East and North Africa (MENA) regional program, the first Arab child rights network in the MENA region. Additionally, with his leadership, DCI-Palestine was named one of the top 30 organizations in the Middle East by Forbes magazine for transparency and professionalism.
Under Kassis' leadership, DCI-Palestine pushed forward a number of community-based programs and activities on a range of issues intent on achieving concrete improvements and comprehensive protections for Palestinian children living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including on the issue of economic exploitation of children and child labor.
Kassis brought unbounded energy and dedication to DCI-Palestine's mission, and fostered a supportive and collaborative work environment instilled with individual accountability.
Defense for Children International - Palestine (DCI-Palestine), an independent child rights organization, is dedicated to defending and promoting the rights of children living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. For over 20 years, we have investigated, documented and exposed grave human rights violations against children; held Israeli and Palestinian authorities accountable to universal human rights principles; advocated at the international and national levels to advance access to justice and protections for children; and provided direct legal aid to children in distress.