Solidarity statement with Maryam Al-Khawaja’s campaign to free her father in Bahrain and call for Gaza ceasefire

On 19 February 2024, Bahraini-Danish human rights campaigner Maryam Al-Khawaja announced publicly in a video that she has Hodgkin’s lymphoma, stage 3 blood cancer, and that she was beginning a series of sit-ins in front of the Danish Prime Minister’s office in Copenhagen with two demands close to her heart.

In her video, Al-Khawaja said, “In January 2024 I learned that I have stage 3 blood cancer. As I fight for my health in this critical time, one truth is very clear: it is time for freedom. Freedom for my father, Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, and freedom for the Palestinian people. Before more harm is committed, I urge the Danish government to lead with its stated human rights values: to leverage its diplomatic power to release my father and decisively end all arm sales and demand a ceasefire in Gaza. Only then, can all of our families finally be safely together.”

“Maryam is a key member of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), and the former Co-Director. She is a very courageous woman. That is her character. At such a very difficult time she is thinking about the release of her father and the plight of the people of Gaza,” said GCHR’s Executive Director Khalid Ibrahim. “We are sending our support and solidarity to Maryam in addition to asking you all to do the same,” he added.

Maryam Al-Khawaja was chosen as one of the 100 inspiring and influential women from around the world for 2023 by the BBC. Her father, Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, is the only Danish imprisoned human rights defender in the world. For 13 years, he has been unjustly imprisoned in Bahrain

She says, “My father has always said that the fight for human rights is universal. My father and I are appalled by the fact that civilians in Gaza, some who also have cancer, are currently being bombed and killed. From Bahrain to Palestine people are forced to live without their loved ones, and it must stop. I want to have my father by my side, so we can call on the Danish government to end arm sales and demand a ceasefire in Gaza now.”

Her sit-in will last 2-3 hours each time, as per medical advice, and started on Monday 19 February. She is planning to do this sit-in as often as her health and chemotherapy regimen allows, and it will be announced on a rolling basis.

Please help! Like, share and comment on Maryam Al-Khawaja’s video on X (formerly Twitter),Instagram, TikTok and LinkedIn. You are also welcome to make your own video/post to show solidarity with her. Please follow the #FreeAlKhawaja accounts (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Website) and share posts. Remember to always use #FreeAlKhawaja