Berber van der Woude, board member of The Rights Forum, talks with Palestinian-British doctor Ghassan Abu-Sittah about his time as a surgeon in Gaza and the genocidal war that Israel is waging there. Recently, Germany imposed an entry and speaking ban on Abu-Sitta, banned the Palästina Kongress, and blocked the bank account of Jüdische Stimme. The Rights Forum provides a platform for speakers from these organisations, as a counterbalance to the suppression of freedom of speech and Palestinian solidarity by the German state. Furthermore, we ask ourselves, are we also heading in this direction in the Netherlands? With a panel of experts we will discuss the situation in Gaza and the attacks on the freedom of expression in Europe. The Rights Forum offers a platform to panelists whose freedom of expression and Palestinian solidarity in Europe are under severe pressure.

Update from the organisation (the Rights forum)

The Netherlands has banned Dr. Ghassan Abu-Sittah from entering the country. We are fighting this unjust and reprehensible decision by legal means, but unfortunately cannot guarantee participation in person or over video-link of Dr Abu Sittah. The event will take place regardless, with all the other panelists.

About the speakers

Dr. Ghassan Abu-Sittah is a well-known British-Palestinian surgeon who has worked in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Southern Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. On October 9, he went to Gaza, where he worked for 43 days straight in Al-Shifa and Al-Ahli hospitals. Since then he has been showing the world what is happening in Gaza. Abu-Sittah was recently elected Rector of the University of Glasgow.

Moderator Berber van der Woude is a political scientist and board member of The Rights Forum. She worked at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a diplomat and policy advisor in the field of peace-building and security and justice sector development in (post-)conflict areas such as Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Colombia and – her last diplomatic posting – Ramallah.

Mr. Dr. Marloes van Noorloos is associate professor of criminal law at Leiden University specialised in research, teaching and human rights advocacy. She has specific academic interest in the criminalisation of expressions and human rights.

Sara Galli is an anesthesiologist in The Hague and part of Doctors for Gaza, a Dutch collective committed to an end to violence, protection of healthcare, access to emergency aid and reconstruction of the destroyed healthcare system in Gaza.

Wieland Hoban is a composer and academic translator. He is chairman of the German organization ‘Jewish Voice for Just Peace in the Middle East’ and was co-organiser of the recently banned ‘Palaestina Kongress’ in Berlin. As a result, his organisation saw their bank closed.

Tobias den Haan works for the European Legal Support Center (ELSC) , the only independent organisation defending and empowering the Palestine solidarity movement in Europe through legal means. He will provide us with facts and figures on the suppression of Palestine solidarity activists in Europe.

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