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Al Mezan's Director Receives the Weimar Human Rights Award 2008; Addresses Ceremony Contemplating 'Pain and Hope'

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11 December 2008 |Reference 56/2008

In a ceremony that brought together officials in the German government, German civil society organizations and German and international media, Mr.
Issam Younis, Director of Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, received the Weimar Human Rights Award 2008.
Following receipt of the award, Mr.
Younis delivered a speech that contemplated with pain for the continued suffering of the Palestinian people as a result of the continuous occupation and violation of human rights by Israel, and with hope for a bright future in which Palestinians' human rights are observed and their freedom respected.
Younis spoke about the Palestinian "Nakba"; one of the largest forced evictions in modern history, and the Palestinians' struggle to gain their legitimate national and human rights.
He pointed to the consistent grave violations of the International Humanitarian Law, and Human Rights Law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).
In his speech, Mr.
Younis pointed to the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its significance to the Palestinian people, who continues to look to the international community's support for its pleas for self-determination and ensure respect for their human rights.
He thanked the City of Weimar for granting him the award, stressing that the award has particular value for him and the Palestinian human rights activists because it represents a sincere voice from Germany, whose history and present are interconnected with that of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
He added that the award provides for hope that the international community's positions would change towards prioritizing justice and human rights, particularly in the OPT.
At the end of the ceremony Mr.
Younis participated in 15 media events with German and interactional media agencies, including Israeli media, during which he spoke about the violations of Palestinian's human rights, and particularly the continuous blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip, which represents a flagrant form of collective punishment of an entire population.
He also highlighted that the international community has legal and moral obligations towards providing protection for Palestinian civilians in the OPT, stressing the need for full respect of human rights for all people without any form of discrimination.
Younis leaves Germany on 12 December for Spain, where he should participate in the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network General Assembly 2008 in Barcelona, and meet with Spanish government officials in Madrid to advocate for increasing the efforts to ensure respect of human rights in the OPT.
Then he heads to Switzerland and France for a series of meetings with Swiss and UN officials in Geneva, visits the Human Rights Council and meets with French officials.