Al Mezan's director Mr.
Issam Younis met with German government and civil society representatives during his visit to Germany, where he should receive the Weimar Human Rights Award 2008 on the International Human Rights Day; today.
Younis had left Gaza on 4 December 2008, after the German Embassy in Israel coordinated for him to cross to Jordan.
He arrived in Germany on 6 December, and took part in a conference organized by the Episcopal Academy of Aachen on "60 Years Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Who still believes in human rights?" He made a presentation on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), which focused on the conditions in the Gaza Strip.
He highlighted the continuous Israel grave violations of human rights and imposition of illegal collective punishment on Gaza's entire population.
On 8 and 9 December, Mr.
Younis met in Berlin with a group of civil society and media representatives.
He also met with German government officials, including the Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Minister in charge of human rights, and the directors of human rights and Middle East departments in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
During these meetings, Mr.
Younis spoke about the human rights conditions in the OPT, and especially in the Gaza Strip which lies under a severe humanitarian crisis.
He stressed the need for a more active role for Germany to ensure respect and protection of human rights, including by pressuring for an end of Israel's siege of Gaza.
Younis is scheduled to take part in a ceremony in the City of Weimar, in which he receives the Weimar Human Rights Award 2008 for his role in Al Mezan Center for Human Right's development and consistent defense of human rights without discrimination.
This is the first time a Palestinian national receives this award.
Younis will address the Weimar City Council and a gathering of politicians, civil society activists, academics and journalists during the ceremony.
Younis is scheduled to leave Germany on 12 December for Spain.
He will participate in the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network General Assembly 2008 in Barcelona, and to meet with Spanish government officials in Madrid to advocate for increasing the efforts to ensure respect for human rights in the OPT.
He is also scheduled to meet with Swiss officials on 16 and 17 December and with French officials in Paris on 18 and 19 December, END