Two Palestinian human rights defenders, Sami and Samiha Al-Harini, from Somoud youth organisation in Masafer Yatta South of Hebron win the Global Front line defenders award for the year 2021, as they were chosen for the Middle East and North Africa region
Human rights defenders from six countries have been named as laureates of the 2021 Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk. The organisation is honouring human rights defenders (HRDs) working on issues including racial justice, housing rights, minority rights, the protection and defense of the environment and land, self-determination and disability rights.
In each case, the HRDs have faced various forms of harassment, intimidation, and threats, with some facing violence and some have been detained and charged; and they respond with dignity, grace and determination to persevere, demonstrating incredible courage and hope.
The South Hebron Hills region is one of the most dangerous areas for Palestinians in the West Bank, with some of the most extremist Israeli settlements located in the area.
Sami and Sameeha Huraini and their other activists in the Youth of Sumud movement escort shepherds and school children under threat of attacks by Israeli settlers and soldiers. Sameha also organises activities for women in her village.
As a leader in the community, Sami is frequently harassed by both Israeli settlers and the Israeli military for his peaceful work. He was arrested after his participation in a peaceful demonstration on 8 January 2021.
The demonstration was organised to protest against Israeli army violence, particularly after the shooting of the Palestinian activist Harun Abu Aram, on 1 January 2021, who was shot in the neck at point blank range. Sami’s trial is still ongoing.
Sameeha has also been detained and has faced judicial harassment for her work defending the rights of her community and the land.