On Monday, 26 August 2019, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights(PCHR) received at its head office in Gaza City Mr. Thomas Hammarberg, one of the most prominent human rights figures in Sweden and former Secretary General of the Stockholm-based Olof Palme International Center, and Mr. Hans Josefsson, General Secretary of the Religious Social Democrats of Sweden. The meeting was attended by public figures, representatives of civil society, intellectuals, and academics.
During the meeting, the participants expressed their position against the efforts to undermine the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA.) They emphasized that the role and presence of UNRWA is tied to the Palestinian refugees’ cause, and all efforts by the US Administration aim at liquidating it. They also stressed that the right to return is a collective and not an individual right of all Palestinians.
PCHR Director, Mr. Raji Sourani, welcomed the delegation and their support for human rights issues in general and those of the Palestinian people specifically, asserting that the current situation in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) is the worst since the 1948 Nakba.
During the meeting, the overall human rights situation in the oPt was discussed, primarily the catastrophic humanitarian crisis that resulted from the ongoing Israeli closure policy and collective punishment against Palestinians by the Israeli forces over the past 13 years. The role of the international community and their obligation to intervene to end Israeli violations against Palestinians in the oPt was a common issue raised by participants, as well as their refusal of policies underming UNRWA, considering the reduction of its services as an attempt to dismiss the Palestinian refugees’ cause.