Blog: Gaza Closure
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October 3, 2011
Posted by Meera Shah
Today, Raji Sourani, one of the foremost human rights lawyers and advocates in the Middle East, will come to speak at Harvard Law School. Personally, as someone who worked in the Middle East for several years, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to meet him. The founder of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights in Gaza City in 1995, Sourani began his human rights career challenging Israeli prison conditions and defending Palestinians facing deportation in Israeli military courts. As a human rights defender, he was detained by Israeli authorities on multiple occasions, prompting Amnesty International to name him one of their Prisoners of Conscience in both 1985 and 1988.
With the creation of the Palestinian Authority in the 1990s, Sourani’s work took on another dimension, exposing and documenting human rights violations on the part of both Israeli and Palestinian officials. While this even-handedness was not always popular, it demonstrates Sourani’s commitment to a universal standard.
This principled stance and the courage to speak out continue to drive Sourani’s work. Today, he will be talking about the need for accountability for violations committed as part of Israel’s offensive in late 2008 and the human rights implications of the ongoing closure of the Gaza Strip. I hope you will join us for this important and timely discussion!
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