The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR)
wishes to express its warmest congratulations to Ireland’s new President Mr.
Michael Higgins – a strong supporter of Palestine.


Mr. Higgins has tirelessly worked to advance
human rights throughout the world, including Palestine.


In 2004 Mr. Higgins visited Gaza as part of a
delegation brought by the Dutch NGO United Civilians for Peace. During this
visit he was briefed by PCHR Director Raji Sourani on the ongoing human rights
violations faced by the Palestinian people.


In 2006, during a Trocaire facilitated visit to
Ireland, Mr. Sourani spoke at a conference which was organized by the Limerick
branch of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Mr. Higgins also addressed
the conference and met with Mr. Sourani privately to discuss the issue of
universal jurisdiction to prosecute alleged war criminals.


The inauguration of President Higgins
represents a great moment for human rights advocates everywhere.  It is
also part of a tradition of a progressive Irish foreign policy which promotes
the rule of law and human rights, born from Ireland’s own struggle for freedom.


The previous President of Ireland who later became
the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mrs. Mary Robinson, has also been a
great friend of Palestine and PCHR.


PCHR congratulates President Higgins and
expects his firm commitment to democracy human rights and rule of law to be a
consistent feature of his Presidency. We hope that these universal rights are
extended to the people of Gaza and Palestine as a whole. Finally, PCHR would
hereby like to invite Mr. Higgins to visit the Gaza Strip and West Bank.


To read the letter of congratulations that was
sent to Mr. Michael Higgins by Raji Sourani, the Director of PCHR
, please
click here.