Raji Sourani

Raji Sourani founded the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), which lobbies for legislation that incorporates international human rights standards and basic democratic principles. Since its establishment in 1995, PCHR has become the foremost human rights organization in the Gaza Strip, serving as an independent legal body in Gaza that documents and investigates abuses, counsels victims, and provides legal aid.

Despite the suspicions of fellow Palestinians, Sourani has reached out to Israeli human rights organizations, a difficult move that proved effective in advancing the pursuit of human rights law. The center seeks to hold both the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government to international human rights standards. When Yasser Arafat announced that people suspected of security offenses would be tried through a new military tribunal, Sourani publicly decried the move as a breach of judicial independence. Sourani was consequently taken from his home at night and detained. In addition, Sourani has been held in Israeli detention four times, beaten and subjected to mental and physical abuse.