Hanan Elmasu

Country of Origin:

WLS Award:


Graduate Program: LLM in Public International Law at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London

Background & Goals: Hanan Elmasu wished to enhance her expertise in the field of human rights, and to learn how to more effectively utilize principals of international law in public diplomacy. She was also interested in gaining the skills necessary to develop negotiation policies, and to conduct third-party interventions in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as other situations of armed conflict.

Post-Degree Projects:  In July 2016 Hanan Elmasu joined Oak Foundation’s International Human Rights Programme as Programme Officer. She covers the portfolio area of impunity and works across the Programme on issues related to human rights and technology.

Elmasu has worked over the last twenty years with a range of national and international NGOs and the UN on the protection of human rights and respect for humanitarian law.  She lived in the occupied Palestinian territory from 1994 until 2005, where she developed her expertise on human rights protection, particularly focusing on refugee rights, arbitrary detention and torture, the protection of civilians during armed conflict and international accountability. She acted as an advisor in the Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations, and participated on behalf of Palestine in the International Court of Justice case on Israel’s construction of a wall in occupied Palestinian territory.

She spent the last eight years as part of the Middle East team at Christian Aid working on human rights and humanitarian law advocacy and managed a programme that focused on ending impunity and developing accountability mechanisms, including through the exploration of transitional justice, in the Middle East.

Hanan completed her LLM in Public International Law at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. The focus of her coursework was international protection of human rights, international courts and tribunals, and colonialism and the development of international law. She found all three courses to be relevant to her work in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, in particular developing a greater understanding of the mechanisms used for the protection of human rights and avenues for addressing violations of international law. Her research focus was primarily on the enforcement of the advisory opinion given by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in regard to third state responsibility and Israel’s construction of a wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Having worked on the memorial that was submitted to the ICJ on behalf of Palestine, she found that the opportunity to explore the enforcement of the opinion particularly useful.  After returning to the region, Elmasu worked as a consultant with her former office, Addameer Prisoners Support and Human Rights Association in Ramallah, with the Negotiations Support Unit, to assist in humanitarian monitoring and advise on strategies to ensure that key actors understand the humanitarian situation.