Gaza, ALRAY - Prominent Palestinian psychiatrist Dr. Eyad El-Sarraj passed away on Tuesday night in Gaza.
Born in Beersheva, Palestine on 27 April 1944, Dr El-Sarraj arrived with his family in Gaza in 1948 as refugees.
Dr El-Sarraj is the first psychiatrist to practice in Gaza, beginning in 1977. He founded the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP) in 1990 to promote the mental well-being of three major target groups in the Palestinian community: children, women, and victims of organized violence and torture.
Sarraj won several international awards for his human rights struggle. That include the Physicians for Human Rights Award, the Martin Ennals Award for human rights defenders, the Olof Palme Prize for his self-sacrificing and indefatigable struggle for the Palestinian people, and the Juan José López-Ibor prize in psychiatry.
Of his political and notable is his being a consultant to the Palestinian delegation at the Camp David 2000 Summit, and his appearance as an expert witness before the United Nations-mandated Goldstone Commission on the war crimes committed during Israel’s 2008-9 military offensive “Operation Cast Lead.”
He was also Head of the Palestinian Reconciliation Committee formed by independent public figures in June 2006 to mediate unity between Palestinian rivals Fatah and Hamas.
In 1996, he was arrested and tortured for condemning torture and violation of human rights by the Palestinian Authorities.
Huda Julie Webb-Pullman contributed to this report.