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Ahmed Muhanna

HRD, anaesthetist, head of programmes

Ahmed Muhanna is a Palestinian human rights defender, anaesthetist, and the interim head of Al Awda Hospital in the Northern Gaza Strip, Occupied Palestinian Territory. He also holds the position of head of programmes at Al Awda Health and Community Association (AWDA), a Palestinian non-governmental health and development organization of which Al Awda Hospital is an integral part.

Over the last two decades, he has committed himself to advocating for the right to health under Israeli occupation, serving in his role with AWDA and as a volunteer anaesthetist. During various crises and Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip, Ahmed Muhanna operated as a volunteer emergency medic. He has been on the front lines, offering assistance to the wounded and injured. Additionally, he played a crucial role during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Amid the 2023 hostilities in the Gaza Strip, Ahmed Muhanna garnered international recognition for speaking out and condemning the Israeli military forces' targeting of the health system and healthcare workers in Gaza. He described the dire situation at Al Awda Hospital in the Northern Gaza Strip, shedding light on the challenges faced by healthcare workers.

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.