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Omar Barghouti

Omar Barghouti

HRD, Founder
Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel

Omar Barghouti is a Palestinian human rights defender and co-founder of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), an international movement founded in 2005, which has pioneered a non-violent mobilisation against Israel's occupation of Palestine through exerting social, economic and political pressure on the State. BDS seeks to hold Israel accountable for human rights abuses and other violations of international law, defends the “right of return” of Palestinian refugees to family properties lost in the 1948 war and engages in advocacy and nonviolent campaigning for Palestinian rights. The movement has repeatedly criticised Israel for attempting to silence Palestinian human rights defenders.

The situation in Israel has deteriorated in the last four years and more particularly in the years 2010 and 2011, following operation “Cast Lead” in Gaza in 2008/2009. Issues of particular concern include the continuing use of administrative detention of HRDs that denounce the occupation, the settlements and the construction of the wall; increased restrictions on the movement of Palestinian HRDs in the form of travel bans and visa restrictions for international NGO humanitarian workers; hostility towards NGOs that carry out human rights work; the adoption of legislation restricting the space for civil society; curtailment of freedom of association, expression and assembly.