GENEVA, October 30, 2020 — After UN Watch campaigned relentlessly over the last six months to protest the cruel imprisonment of Gaza peace activist Rami Aman, he has finally been released. Aman had been jailed by Hamas since April 9th for organizing a Zoom video call between Israeli and Palestinian peace activists. UN Watch thanks everyone across the globe who worked tirelessly for his release and joined our campaign.
UN Watch’s work to release Rami Aman included the following:
1. Led 70 NGOs in Filing Legal Complaint to UN
UN Watch led a coalition of 70 NGOs to file a joint legal complaint to a UN expert panel, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, demanding Rami Aman’s release. Groups from Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Ghana, India, Japan, Nigeria, Morocco, Switzerland, and the US joined the appeal. “Our complaint seeks to hold Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, which claims jurisdiction in Gaza, accountable for the wrongful imprisonment of Mr. Aman, a violation of international law and of his universal human rights.” See the full list of NGOs in the annex to their complaint.
2. Delivered Sole Intervention in United Nations Plenary
Out of 193 UN member states and 5,100 NGOs accredited to the world body, the only intervention delivered on the floor of the United Nations calling for Rami Aman’s release was delivered by our cross-regional coalition in the UN Human Rights Council plenary on Sept. 21st. UN Watch director Hillel Neuer urged the UN to hold Hamas accountable. “The detention of Rami Aman constitutes an arbitrary deprivation of liberty on multiple grounds,” said Neuer. Read the full oral statement here.
I just took the floor at the United Nations and this is what I said:
“Madam Chair, I deliver this statement on the petition for the release of Rami Aman, filed with your Working Group on Arbitrary Detention by 70 United Nations accredited NGOs, as described in A/HRC/45/NGO/149. pic.twitter.com/xR6gIFWjdW
— Hillel Neuer (@HillelNeuer) September 21, 2020
3. Spearheaded Non-Stop Social Media Campaign to Raise International Awareness
Since news of Aman’s arrest broke and until the day of his release, UN Watch worked non-stop on social media to raise public awareness about the plight of the courageous Gaza peace activist. This included near-daily posts by UN Watch and its director on Twitter and Facebook, and sharing powerful footage of Aman days before his arrest, in an effort to appeal to governments, rights groups, and world leaders.
Rami Aman is a courageous Gaza peace activist who has disappeared since his arrest on Thursday by Hamas for making a Zoom call with Israeli peace activists.
Rami Aman is a human rights hero.
Rami Aman is a prisoner of conscience.
— UN Watch (@UNWatch) April 13, 2020
60 days. Gaza peace hero Rami Aman has been rotting in Hamas prison now for 60 days.
His crime: a video chat with Israeli peace activists. Rami was also jailed one year ago for peace activism.
This Palestinian is risking his life and freedom for peace. Why is the world silent? https://t.co/k9FiOaABfJ
— Hillel Neuer (@HillelNeuer) June 8, 2020
4. Persuaded Amnesty International to Declare Aman a “Prisoner of Conscience”
After four weeks of sustained activism by UN Watch, Amnesty agreed to issue a statement that rightfully designated Rami Aman a Prisoner of Conscience and called for his “immediate and unconditional release.” Before that, Amnesty International had persistently refused to issue any statement on Aman’s detention, restricting itself to making guarded and indirect replies to media queries. For a timeline on the arrest of Aman, the controversy in Gaza, and Amnesty’s role, click here.
5. Published Op-ed in Newsweek Magazine
UN Watch’s Hilary Miller published an op-ed in Newsweek urging international action to free Aman: “It’s time for both governments and campaign groups to finally speak out, with clear conviction, for the release from prison of the most courageous Palestinian peace advocate of our generation.”
International community must not abandon jailed peace hero in Gaza | Opinion https://t.co/LWSV94UUao
— Newsweek Opinion (@NewsweekOpinion) August 6, 2020
6. Sent Letters to 14 Foreign Ministers Urging Action
UN Watch appealed to foreign ministers around the world to urge them to take action for Rami Aman, sending letters to Germany’s Heiko Maas, France’s Jean-Yves Le Drian, and the UK’s Dominic Raab. Letters were also sent to the foreign ministers of Australia, Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
7. United Nations Published Written Appeal as Official Document
Out of 5,100 UN-accredited NGOs, the only human rights group to submit a written submission to the UN calling for Rami’s release was UN Watch, on behalf of its international coalition of 70 NGOs. This was published by the UN as an official document, A/HRC/45/NGO/149.