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Mahmoud Abu Nujaila

HRD, Doctor
Al Awda Health and Community Association (AWDA), Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)

Mahmoud Abu Nujaila was a Palestinian human rights defender, medical doctor, and humanitarian healthcare worker with Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). During the 2023 Israeli hostilities in Gaza, he was on the front lines, treating the wounded and injured, risking his life in an extremely hostile situation.

Tragically, on 21 November 2023, Mahmoud Abu Nujaila was killed in an Israeli airstrike on Al Awda Hospital, along with two other doctors and human rights defenders. He was in the facility treating patients when the third and fourth floors were targeted; the hospital was one of the last remaining partly functional hospitals in northern Gaza.

At the end of October 2023, Mahmoud Abu Nujaila wrote on a whiteboard, normally used for planning surgeries, the following: "Whoever stays until the end will tell the story. We did what we could. Remember us."

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.

The situation of human rights defenders in the OPT is particularly complex as they are carrying out their work in the context of the Israeli military occupation and the second Palestinian Intifada (uprising) which began in 2000. People considered to be human rights defenders in the OPT include journalists, lawyers, medical workers, fieldworkers, international volunteers who act as independent observers and carry out human rights work and defenders working for economic, social and cultural rights.