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Ben-Gurirab, Honorary President of the IPU, joins the International Committee

On the 24th of January 2014, Dr Theo Ben-Gurirab announced he was joining the International High Level Committee for the freedom of Marwan Barghouthi and all Palestinian prisoners. Dr Theo Ben-Gurirab is the Former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Namibia and current Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Namibia. He was elected as President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union for a three-year mandate in October 2008. Since October 2011, he is Honorary President of the IPU. During his 35 years in the field of international affairs and diplomacy, notably in the UN, he served as President of the 54th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. He was instrumental in driving the UN reform process forward and presided over the drafting of the historic United Nations Millennium Declaration in 2000.

In a message of support sent at the occasion of the Launching event of the International Campaign held in October 2013 on Robben Island, Dr Ben-Gurirab stated: « The SWAPO Party, the ANC and the PLO shared the same trenches internationally as comrades-in-arms. The final victory we won in Africa.  But Palestine is yet to be liberated and for the PLO to assume its rightful place as the real Government of liberated Palestine. That’s the sacred cause of the right of self-determination and the achievement of freedom and independence that had joined us together. The embodiment of that burning aspiration of the Palestinian people is represented by the venerable Marwan Barghouti who remains a prisoner for demanding freedom, independence and justice. I spoke of Nelson Mandela, Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo. Let me add the name of Marwan Barghouti here at this place once of isolation and remembrances but also of indomitable human spirit that turned once suffering into victory ».

Dr Theo Ben-Gurirab further underlined « If there is one lesson that the history of South Africa and Namibia can tell the world it is that the international community must be relentless in its pursuit to condemn all forms of oppression. Doing so is not only a moral international responsibility. It can well be a decisive factor in bringing an end to the conflict. As part of these efforts, we should continue to advocate relentlessly for the release of Palestinian political prisoners from Israeli jails. These persons do not belong in jail. What is more, Marwan Barghouti’s continued detention deprives Palestinians from a voice in discussions about their future…The Palestinians need him to help them carve out the future they want. There can be no excuse for keeping him behind bars ».