The individual chosen to become the 2003 Oak Human Rights Fellow was Raji Sourani, Esq., a prominent Palestinian human rights attorney. Mr. Sourani is director of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, an independent legal body based in Gaza City dedicated to protecting human rights, promoting the rule of law, and upholding democratic principles in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Although Mr. Sourani was unable to assume the Oak Human Rights Fellowship due to difficulties related to his departure from Gaza and acquisition of an U.S. visa, he remains very active, focusing on documenting the human rights violations perpetrated in the Gaza Strip. Mr. Sourani has received many other human rights distinctions, including that of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Fund, of which he is a Laureate. His organization has Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC, is an Affiliate of the Federation Internationale des Ligues des Droits de l’Homme and the International Commission of Jurists, and is a member of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network.