The International Campaign for the freedom of Marwan Barghouthi and all Palestinian prisoners was launched from the cell of Nelson Mandela, the universal symbol of freedom, on the 27th of October 2013.This joint initiative between the Popular Campaign to Free Marwan Barghouthi and all prisoners and the Kathrada Foundation marked the implementation of the key recommendation adopted at the “Freedom & Dignity” International Conference.
The “Freedom & Dignity” International Conference
In April 2013, on the 11th anniversary of Marwan Barghouthi’s arrest, the Popular Campaign organised an International Conference entitled “Freedom & Dignity”, based on an invitation by the National Leadership Committee composed of leaders from all Palestinian political groups and national figures. The Conference enjoyed the support of the Palestinian Coordination on International Advocacy for Palestinian prisoners . The conference took place in Ramallah, Palestine, on the 27th of April (South Africa’s Freedom day) and was a culmination of the Popular Campaign’s international efforts, which began when Marwan was arrested in 2002.
120 international delegates attended the meeting, including over 50 parliamentarians from Latin America, Africa and Europe. Ahmed Kathrada, an icon of the anti-apartheid struggle, was the guest of honour. He called for the launch of an International Campaign to free Marwan Barghouthi and all Palestinian prisoners on Robben Island, inspired by the Free Mandela Campaign.
The launch of an International Campaign from Mandela’s cell on Robben Island
Ahmed Kathrada launched the Free Mandela Campaign in 1962, before spending 26 years in apartheid jails, including 18 on Robben Island. 51 years later, he launched the International Campaign for the Freedom of Marwan Barghouthi and all Palestinian prisoners. Kathrada announced the formation of an International High Level Committee (IHLC) for the international campaign.
The International High Level Committee and the Robben Island Declaration
The International High Level Committee (IHLC) is composed of renowned former prisoners, leaders and former leaders, human rights figures and Nobel Peace Prize Laureates. The IHLC issued a statement called the Robben Island Declaration for the Freedom of Marwan Barghouthi and all Palestinian prisoners which has been signed by leading personalities, organisations and individual citizens across the globe.