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Al Awda Health and Community Association

Al Awda Health and Community Association (AWDA), formerly known as the Union of Health Work Committees – UHWC, is a Palestinian non-governmental health and development organisation based in the Gaza Strip. The organisation employs a human rights-based approach to provide health services to all segments of Palestinian society, especially the poor and the marginalised. AWDA operates with the primary goal of achieving community health empowerment and promoting a comprehensive healthcare concept, with a specific emphasis on the protection of women and children.

AWDA plays a vital role in serving the Palestinian people and addressing gaps in healthcare services. It operates two main hospitals, multiple health centres, and community programmes across the Gaza Strip. Many of its staff work on a voluntary basis, and its services are offered for a symbolic price. During times of crises and Israeli military operations, the symbolic fees are waived.

AWDA is the third-largest healthcare provider in the besieged Gaza Strip, following the Ministry of Health and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

Human rights defenders in the OPT are subjected to acts of harassment, restrictions on freedom of movement, stigmatisation, abductions, long periods of arbitrary detention usually under administrative detention orders, illegal searches of their homes and offices and killings. Many of the violations are state-sanctioned, or if not sanctioned at the highest levels of the Israeli political and military establishment, then condoned by the ongoing policy of impunity which permeates the military and judicial system in relation to the OPT. In some instances Israeli settlers have also been the perpetrators of violence against human rights defenders.