At the occasion of the 12th anniversary of Marwan Barghouthi’s arrest, and as the Palestinian prisoners’ day approaches, the Campaign for the freedom of Marwan Barghouthi and all Palestinian prisoners issued the following statement:
In October 2013, from the cell of Nelson Mandela on Robben Island, a historic international campaign was launched, with the support of official and non-official Palestinian institutions, to call for the release of Marwan Barghouthi and all Palestinian prisoners. In the last 6 months, the Campaign reflected the incredible solidarity with the Palestinian people in general and the Palestinian prisoners in particular.
An International High Level Committee supporting the Campaign, and founded by anti-apartheid icon Ahmed Kathrada, was announced during the launch in South Africa. This International Committee adopted the Robben Island Declaration, founding text of the International Campaign. Within 6 months, the Robben Island Declaration was signed by thousands of people from over 30 countries, including Argentina, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Burma, East Timor, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Greece, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, India, Ireland, Italy, Mali, Malta, Namibia, Nicaragua, Peru, Russia, Senegal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Tunisia, Uruguay, USA, Yemen.
The signatories include the Secretary general of the Arab League Nabil El Araby; the Deputy President of South Africa and former President Kgalema Mothlanthe; 6 Nobel Peace Prize Laureates from the different continents, including President Jimmy Carter; other former Presidents, Prime Ministers and Foreign Ministers from Italy, Namibia, France, Russia, Malta, Bangladesh, Ireland, Sweden, East Timor, Senegal, Cyprus, Argentina; hundreds of Parliamentarians from across the globe, including several Speakers and former Speakers; former prisoners and human rights figures; internationally renowned artists and intellectuals; religious leaders including Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Archbishop Ieronymos II, Archbishop of the Orthodox church of Athens and All Greece; Mayors, trade unions, associations, and over 7000 citizens worldwide.
Furthermore, National Campaigns have been launched in South Africa, Italy, France, United Kingdom, and will soon follow in Ireland, Latin America and elsewhere around the globe.
In this International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, this is a new reflection of the international consensus in support of the freedom of the Palestinian people. This is also a message addressed to Israel, the Occupying power, that occupation must end, and freedom shall prevail, for peace to be achieved, and one of the most important signals of Israel’s willingness to achieve peace is the release of Marwan Barghouthi and all Palestinian prisoners.
The Robben Island Declaration states: « As international efforts led to the release of Nelson Mandela and of all the anti-apartheid prisoners, we believe that the international community must help to secure the freedom of Marwan Barghouthi and all Palestinian prisoners, as an integral part of its moral, legal and political responsibility to assist the Palestinian people in the realization of their rights. » As this message from across the globe is now being heard, including in the occupation prison cells where prisoners pursue their struggle for freedom as an integral part of the emblematic struggle of the Palestinian people for freedom and dignity, the Campaign reaffirms that international values are non negotiable and freedom is inevitable.