Society of St. Yves

Catholic Center for Human Rights

About this Ministry

The Society of St. Yves – Catholic Center for Human Rights (“St. Yves”) is a Catholic human rights organization, founded in 1991 by Patriarch Emeritus Michel Sabbah, and operating under the umbrella of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. The organization was named after St. Yves of Bretagne, the patron saint of lawyers known as the “Advocate of the poor”. Ever since its establishment, St. Yves has been representing the needy, oppressed and marginalized in the Holy Land.

St. Yves is guided by the principle that every human being – irrespective of race, color, gender or religion – is equal and has fundamental, irrevocable rights, as reflected in International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law. Over twenty seven years of legal service, St. Yves boasts diversity as the composition of the staff has included men and woman, Israelis and Palestinians, Jews, Muslims and Christians.

St. Yves operates on both legal and advocacy spheres; from legal representation to building community-based awareness. St. Yves runs a dense awareness raising program with the aim of empowering the local community to know how to demand its rights, as a major tool of empowerment. Through National and International Lobby and Advocacy we are able to bring the plight of the poor and marginalized to the attention of communities around the world in an effort to bring pressure for justice.

Preventing Home Demolitions & Land Confiscation

St. Yves lawyers are successfully defending homeowners against demolitions and providing “Legal Toolkits” to Palestinians with emergency documents that can temporarily prevent demolition.

St. Yves “toolkits” also enable the residents to immediately contact St. Yves for representation. Residents may have as few as 24 hours after receiving notice of the planned destruction to submit these emergency documents. The “toolkits” are now available through churches and other facilities in cooperation with non- governmental organizations.

In addition to defending against home demolitions, the protection of the legal rights of Catholics living in East Jerusalem to social benefits is needed to allow them to remain in the Holy Land. The Western Lieutenancy has funded vital projects to achieve that aim.

Protecting Legal Rights to Social Benefits

Palestinians with Israeli permanent residency, mostly Catholics, are entitled to many Israeli social benefits, such as unemployment, disability, widowhood, and old age and yet over 68% live under the poverty line but only 22% receive social services benefits. The St. Yves work will help those deprived of their social and economic rights to obtain them. In addition to representing individual clients, St. Yves is creating toolkits for greater awareness of legal rights to these benefits, explaining step-by-step, easy to understand directions to seek benefits.

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We appreciate your prayers and financial support for all of these and many other efforts by the St. Yves lawyers. They are courageous and relentless, sometimes even suffering bodily harm while protecting others from Israeli soldiers.