Geneva- The Israeli arrests of university students in the occupied West Bank for their student activity were condemned on Tuesday at the 37th session of the UN Human Rights Council in a joint statement made by the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor and African Cultural International (ACI).
In their joint statement today, the two organizations referred to the punitive policies adopted by the Israeli authorities against student council members, such as arbitrary arrests and expulsion orders from universities and beatings, the latest being the Israeli forces’ arrest of the female student Ola Marshoud at An-Najah University.
On March 7, the abduction of student Omar al-Kiswani, head of the Student Council at Birzeit University, was documented by the two organizations, noting his wide popularity among students of the University.
An Israeli army force member kidnapped Al-Kiswani at gunpoint from inside the university campus while disguised in civilian clothing, explained the two human rights groups. This is a form of treachery prohibited under international humanitarian law, and has distressing effect on the other students inside the University, the organizations further detailed.
The Israeli authorities have practically criminalized and prohibited student unions and their activities at the Palestinian universities, despite their knowledge of the nature of their work - offering only services and academic activities. Such practices are a violation of the nature of universities and educational institutions as civilian establishments. They are also a flagrant violation of students’ right to freedom of expression.
The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor and ACI call on the Human Rights Council and its member states to pressure the Israeli authorities to fulfill their international obligations and to put an end to their intimidation of university students.
Euro-Med Monitor and ACI also call on the Israeli authorities to immediately release the detained students and respect their right to education.