Palestine field post: 'I am not your normal human rights campaigner'
Inspired by Gandhi, A Palestinian Resists Israeli Settlements
Issa Amro works to document human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
In 2009 Issa won the One World media award in 2009 for his involvement in B’Tselem’s “Shooting Back” project, which provides media training and distributes cameras to Palestinians to document settler and military abuse.
Our struggle is about occupation, future, history, homeland. Other human rights campaigners document issues, or try to change the situation without working on the ground. Here we live our reality, we experience directly the brutality. We will never give up.
Issa Amro is a prominent human rights defender and founding member of many non-violent organisations in Hebron who work peacefully against Israeli occupation of the West Bank. Amongst these organisations are the Hebron branch of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), the Arab Non-Violence Network and the Hebron Defenders. Issa is involved in monitoring the application of international human rights and humanitarian law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Issa is founder and coordinator of Youth Against Settlements (YAS), a group of human rights defenders that strengthens the local community’s steadfastness against the expansion of illegal settlements and documents human right violations. For local and international media YAS is often the first source of information from the ground.
In their center, located in Tel Rumeida/ Hebron, the group regularly receives groups of local and international activists, observers and diplomats to teach them about the reality under occupation. The group further aims at educating young Palestinians in nonviolent resistance through nonviolent action, media, and advocacy work.
Through resilience campaigns YAS also helps families suffering from settlements and other occupation activities to remain in their homes. As part of the campaign, YAS has built up and maintains the first kindergarten for Palestinian children in Hebron’s H2 area.
One of the main flagship campaigns of YAS is its yearly Open Shuhada Street Campaign, which is implemented both in Palestine and internationally. Direct actions and activities for human rights are implemented on a continuous basis, as for example with Hebron Defenders. This nonviolent action group was set up to protect local people at risk from settler violence.