Name: Raji Sourani
Nationality: Palestinian, born in the Gaza Strip
Profession: Lawyer, specialising in Human Rights
Status: Married, with two children
Address: Omar al Mukhtar Street, PO Box 1204, Gaza City, Gaza Strip, Telephone: +972 7 286 6340 (home), +972 7 282 4776 (work), +972 7 282 5893 (fax)
For my work over the previous decades I have received widespread recognition as the Gaza Strips foremost human rights lawyer. Receiving my law degree from Alexandria University in 1977, my career has been dedicated to defending human rights principles in the Palestinian territories.
In the course of my work I have been imprisoned on six occasions, the longest for a period of three years, and was adopted by Amnesty International as a Prisoner of Conscience in 1988. Recognizing my sacrifice for the sake of human rights principles, I was awarded the Joint Laureate for Robert F. Kennedy Memorial for Human Rights in 1991 and have received several other human rights awards throughout my career.
I am the founder and director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, which, founded in 1995, has gone on to receive international praise and recognition for its research and advocacy role on the Israeli occupation of Palestine, as well as its direct intervention on human rights issues in the Palestinian territories.
I now dedicate my time between my work in the Gaza Strip and international advocacy abroad. I am currently also a member of the Executive Committee, International Commission of Jurists (ICJ); Vice-President of the Federation Internationale des Ligues des Droits de l’Homme (FIDH); and President of the Board of Trustees of the Arab Organisation for Human Rights (AOHR).
April 1995 – Present
Director of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
Following the collapse of the Gaza Center for Rights and Law I founded the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in 1995. The Center has become a hugely regarded and trusted source for those seeking information on human rights abuses within the Palestinian territories, especially within the Gaza Strip. The Centre has been recognized for its work through several awards, including France Republic Human Rights Award in 1996, Bruno Kreisky Prize for Outstanding Achievements in the Area of Human Rights in 2002, and the International Service Human Rights Award in 2003.
BA (hons) Law, studied at Beruit and Alexandria Universities.
1991 and 1993 – Visiting scholar, Human Rights Centre,
Columbia University, New York, USA
HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVITIES AND EXPERIENCE
May 2006 – to date Member of the Executive Committee, International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), Geneva
2003 – 2006 Commissioner, ICJ
2003 – to date Member of IEC of the International Human Rights Commission (IHRC)
2000 – to date Vice-President of the Federation Internationale des Ligues des Droits de l’Homme (FIDH), Paris, France.
1997 – to date Board Member of the Arab Organisation for Human Rights (AOHR) – Cairo, Egypt. In April 2011, elected as President of the Board of Trustees of AOHR
1994 – 1995 Member of the Independent Election Commission, and assisted in the preparation of the draft Palestinian election law, Palestine.
1995 – to date Founding Member and Board Member of the Advisory Council of Bir Zeit University Law Centre, Ramallah, Palestine.
1993 – to date Expert member of the International Council of the International Human Rights Law Group.
April 1991 – April 1995 Director of the Gaza Centre for Rights and Law, Gaza, Palestine
1988 – to date Founding Board Member of the Arab Studies Society, Jerusalem, Palestine.
1987 – to date Board Member of the Palestinian Human Rights Information Centre (PHRIC), Jerusalem, Palestine.
1977 – to date Lawyer and Head of Law Firm based in the Gaza Strip, Palestine
Period of Imprisonment and Restrictions
1979 – 1982 Imprisoned for “Political Activities” for three years.
1985 Two months of detention and interrogation, released without charge.
Six months of detention and interrogation, released without charge.
1986 – 1987 Restricted from legal work for one year by an unprecedented Israeli Military decision issued by the Israeli Military Governor.
1988 Administrative detention for six months:
Amnesty International, Prisoner of Conscience
American Bar Association, Adopted Case.
1977 – 1990 Restricted by order from traveling outside of the Gaza Strip.
1995 Arrested by the Palestinian Authority for statements criticising the establishment of the State Security Courts.
1991 Joint Laureate for Robert F Kennedy Memorial for Human Rights (jointly held with Israeli lawyer, Avigdor Feldman).
1996 France Republic Human Rights Award.
2002 Bruno Kreisky Prize for Outstanding Achievements in the Area of Human Rights
2003 International Service Human Rights Award
2013 Right Livelihood Award
Advising international human rights groups, international governmental organisations and national governments on human rights in the occupied territories.
Contributed to numerous studies and books and personally produced many papers.
Regularly called upon to present lectures and talks on human rights protection, theory and practice, and on political and legal developments in the Middle East and Palestine. Participating in conferences around the world; in Europe, Africa, the Arab World, Latin America and Japan.