Christian Aid partner Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI) is one of four organisations to share this year’s Right Livelihood Award – also known as the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’.
PHRI campaigns for the equal right to healthcare in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory.
The Right Livelihood Award, or ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’ was given to PHRI ‘for their indomitable spirit in working for the right to health for all people in Israel and Palestine.’
The award will be presented in the Swedish parliament on 6 December, four days before the official Nobel Prize ceremony. The four recipients will share the 200,000 euro prize.
Dr Ruchama Marton, PHRI’s founder, said that the award ‘strengthens us in our ongoing struggle against all sources of oppression and for justice and equality.’
‘[the award] strengthens us in our ongoing struggle against all sources of oppression and for justice and equality.’
Dr Ruchama Marton
The right to health
In the West Bank, checkpoints, roadblocks, the separation barrier and other obstacles can make accessing healthcare difficult for Palestinians.
Between 2000 and 2008, 66 Palestinians died in the West Bank as a result of lack of emergency access to medical facilities, 19 of them children.
PHRI run mobile clinics, with volunteer Israeli doctors and nurses, which not only provide healthcare, but create a peaceful encounter between Israelis and Palestinians.
Israel’s three-year intensive blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has been characterised by severe restrictions on the movement of people and goods into and out of Gaza, that has caused shortages of medicines and medical equipment.
Some treatments – including radiotherapy – are not available at all.
Any Gazan wishing to leave Gaza for medical treatment must apply to the Israeli authorities for a permit. These permits are not always granted.
Between 2007 (when the blockade intensified) and the end of 2008, 17 Gazans died due to infringements of their right to medical treatment.
PHRI lobby the Israeli government for Gazans’ access to medical facilities. It also works within Israel itself, in particular providing services to the poorest and most vulnerable, including migrant workers and refugees.
It lobbies the Israeli government for an equal right to healthcare for all, regardless of legal status, nationality, ethnicity or faith.
Christian Aid in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory
Christian Aid Eyewitness article: Healing hate
The Right Livelihood Award website