Mada al-Carmel

Mada al-Carmel

What Happened

In 2010, the International Development Research Centre terminated two research grants it had awarded Mada al-Carmel, which directed its research toward Palestinian human rights in Israel.


In March 2010, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) abruptly terminated two research grants that had been awarded to Mada al-Carmel in 2008 and 2009. These grants supported research concerning the human rights of Palestinian women in Israel, Arab political participation and the future of democracy in Israel. The grants were terminated without warning or consultation. The performance of Mada al-Carmel was not criticized. The IDRC advised Mada al-Carmel that termination was due to “a review of programming strategy”.

In April 2010, Mada al-Carmel brought an application to the Federal Court requesting a declaration that the IDRC’s decision to terminate the grants was arbitrary and violated its right to procedural fairness. Mada al-Carmel also argued that the termination violated its right to free expression protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Mada al-Carmel asked the Court to quash the IDRC decision to terminate the grants.

In September 2010, the IDRC and Mada al-Carmel reached a mutually agreed-upon confidential settlement. The terms of the settlement appear to have been sufficiently favorable to Mada al-Carmel that it decided to withdraw its legal action.

In its public statement, the IDRC recognized that Mada al-Carmel is a professional, well-respected academic organization that produces high-quality research in the social science field.

Relevant Dates:

  • March 2010: The IDRC abruptly terminates two research grants that had in the past been awarded to Mada al-Carmel, whose research focused on Palestinian human rights, and women's rights, in Israel.
  • April 2010: Mada al-Carmel brings an application to the Federal Court of Canada, requesting that the IDRC declared its decision to cut the funding as arbitrary and in violation of procedural fairness, and requesting that the IDRC revoke its decision to terminate the grants.
  • September 2010: A confidential agreement is reached between the IDRC and Mada al-Carmel, which was sufficiently favourable to Mada al-Carmel that the organisation decided to withdraw its complaint.

Role or Position

The Mada al-Carmel Arab Centre for Applied Social Research (Mada al-Carmel) is a non-governmental academic and public policy research centre. It focuses on the social problems faced by Israeli citizens who are ethnic Palestinians. Its overarching goal is to promote a democracy rooted in equal citizenship.

Implications and Consequences

  • Democracy: Settlement in favour of Mada al-Carmel illustrates that arbitrary or ideologically motivated revocation of funding mid-stream may be challenged through legal action.
  • Equality: The IDRC’s public statement regarding the settlement affirms the legitimacy of human rights defenders working for minorities facing discrimination anywhere in the world, including in Israel.