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Local man monitoring human rights in occupied Palestine

Local man monitoring human rights in occupied Palestine

Devizes Quaker, Paul Longden, a recently retired Police Officer with Wiltshire Police, has just returned from Israel and the occupied West Bank where he was acting as a volunteer human rights monitor with a programme called the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI).
Paul participated with the local population and Palestinian and Israeli peace groups to provide a protective presence to Palestinians at risk of violence; such as children travelling to school, or lone farm workers.
Asked why he did this, Paul replied:
“I feel lucky and privileged to live in a free society. However, Palestinians live under a military occupation that has been deemed illegal by the UN and is now approaching its 50th anniversary – and this means that the Palestinians are denied many rights and freedoms that we take for granted, such as freedom of movement, easy access to medical care and legal rights This is a complicated and tragic situation, but a solution to the Israeli military occupation would enhance the reputation of Israel, bring peace and justice and send a positive message across the world.”
The World Council of Churches set up a programme called EAPPI (the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel) in response to a call for international help from church leaders in Jerusalem. The aim of this programme is to end the Israeli occupation and bring about a just peace based on international law. Since 2002, on behalf of British and Irish churches and church organisations, Quakers in Britain have trained nearly two hundred human rights observers for EAPPI.
In addition to providing a protective presence, Paul photographed and documented everyday local life and incidents that may breach human rights and international law. Paul will be talking about his experiences and telling stories about the Israeli and Palestinian people he met. Everyone is invited to hear him speak at the Quaker Meeting House on Friday, 10th June, at 7:30pm. Free event with a retiring collection. Refreshments available.
You can also discover more about the programme at www.eyewitnessblogs.com or at the main website www.eappi.org

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