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Jordan: Rights activist returns award over US support for genocide in Gaza

November 15, 2023 at 11:06 am

US First Lady Jill Biden (L) and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (R) pose with Hadeel Abdel Aziz (C), from Jordan during the 17th annual International Women of Courage (IWOC) Award ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on March 8, 2023 [OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images]

Jordanian human rights advocate Hadeel Abdel Aziz has returned the International Women of Courage Award given to her by the US State Department a few months ago in protest of America’s support for the Israeli massacres against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Abdel Aziz announced the decision on X saying she had informed the American embassy in Amman in an official letter sent on Monday, that she was returning the award because it “represents neither courage nor justice.”

In March, the State Department announced that Abdel Aziz will receive the award at a ceremony attended by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and First Lady Jill Biden at the White House over “her role in the field of defending human rights in Jordan”, and for being “a frontline defender of Jordan’s most marginalised, including juveniles, refugees, migrants, and survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.”

At the time, the State Department noted that Abdel Aziz, founder and director of the Justice Centre for Legal Aid (JCLA), has demonstrated, over more than a decade of leadership, courage in presenting a clear vision for how a fairer justice system can strengthen Jordan.

The Israeli occupation continues its aggression against the Gaza Strip for the 39th consecutive day, with unprecedented support from the US. Politicians, human rights groups and academics have warned that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza and wiping out Palestinians from the Strip. More than 11,000 Palestinians have been killed, more than a third children, while hundreds more are at risk of dying now fuel supplies have run out and life saving medical equipment has been forced to shut down. Overnight Israel turned part of Gaza’s largest medical complex into an army barracks.

READ: Jordan’s King rejects any Israeli plan to occupy parts of Gaza