PCHR Receives Irish Representative to Palestine
Date: 20 April 2021
On Tuesday, 20 April 2021, lawyer Raji Sourani, Director of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), met with Mr. Don Sexton, Representative of Ireland in Palestine, and the accompanying delegation, at PCHR’s office in Gaza City.
It is noteworthy that this is Representative Sexton’s first visit to the Gaza Strip since assuming office over a year ago due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Sourani welcomed Mr. Sexton and commended the historical relationship between PCHR and the Irish Representative Office in Palestine, the Department of Foreign Affairs, and the Irish people. He also expressed gratitude for the constant Irish support for Palestinian people at all levels.
Sourani briefed the delegation on PCHR’s engagement in monitoring the Palestinian electoral process since the Palestinian President announced that elections will be held on 22 May 202. Sourani addressed PCHR training of 450 local observers, in cooperation with dozens of civil society organizations (CSOs), to monitor the upcoming legislative elections. Sourani also discussed the cooperation and coordination between PCHR, al-Haq and al-Mezan Center for Human Rights in monitoring the elections, stressing the importance of holding the elections not only as part of the democratic process, but also for renewing the legitimacy of Palestinian leadership.
During the meeting, Sourani addressed progress at the International Criminal Court, where he asserted that our bias lies with the rule of law and defense of victims and their dignity, which is a legal, moral, and humane obligation that PCHR honors towards Palestinian victims. He also commended the ICC Prosecutor and judges’ position in defiance of the American and Israeli threats by deciding to open an investigation against suspect perpetrations -senior Israeli military, security and political officers- of war crimes and crimes against humanity; highlighting that the ICC Prosecutor and judges exhibited high levels of professionalism, integrity and independence throughout the process.
Additionally, Sourani addressed PCHR’s future plans in spite of the dangers brought on by Israeli and American threats, and stressed that the next phase will witness the commencement of investigations into case files, which requires a visit by an investigation team to the crime scene; he mentioned that the Gaza Strip might be the only accessible part of the Palestinian territory for on-the-ground investigation provided that the Egyptian authorities allows them entry to meet the victims, their representatives and eyewitnesses, especially that the Israeli authorities will not allow them or any other investigation team to investigate the crimes in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
Finally, Sourani highlighted the threats and the smear campaigns conducted by the Israeli authorities and official Israeli institutions against the Palestinian human rights organizations and lawyers defending Palestinian victims.
For his part, Representative Sexton praised PCHR, its work, and its unwavering support for Palestinian victims and their families.