Huwaida Arraf Bahrain

Lawyer and Human Rights Advocate


Huwaida Arraf is a Palestinian-American lawyer and human rights advocate. She is co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), which has twice been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Huwaida is co-editor of the book Peace Under Fire: Israel, Palestine, and the International Solidarity Movement.

Huwaida was one of the initiators and organizers of a delegation of American lawyers to Gaza in February 2009, and co-authored the report on their findings, Onslaught: Israel’s Attack on Gaza and the Rule of Law. She is the former Chairperson of the Free Gaza Movement, and from August to December 2008, led 5 successful sea voyages to the Gaza Strip to confront and challenge Israel’s illegal blockade. Huwaida was one of the primary organizers of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla and was travelling with it when it was lethally attacked by Israeli forces on 31 May 2010. She was one of the six Palestinian Freedom Riders, who, inspired by the U.S. Civil Rights Freedom Rides of the 1960s, attempted to ride segregated Israeli settler public transport.

Huwaida received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, and her Juris Doctor from the American University Washington College of Law, where she specialised in international human rights and humanitarian law. From 2007 – 2008 Ms. Arraf taught in a human rights law clinic at Al-Quds University in Jerusalem, the first legal clinic in the Arab World.

In 2012 Huwaida helped conceive of and launch the Witness Bahrain initiative, an effort to provide human rights observers on the ground in Bahrain, where an uprising for democracy is being violently repressed. She was arrested by Bahraini authorities and deported for her work.

She currently resides in the United States with her husband Adam Shapiro, and their two young children.


LANGUAGES: English and Arabic