Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK) is concerned about reports from local Palestinian groups that students at al-Najah National University are being harassed by both university security and members of the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) security forces.
Recently one student has been detained and a student’s mobile phone was confiscated. These incidents – and any others of a similar nature – must be subject to an independent and scrupulous investigation by the university authorities, AOHR UK demands.
According to its website, al-Najah is “the largest University in Palestine” with approximately 23,000 students. AOHR UK insists that students at al-Najah and across Palestine should be able to pursue their studies and peaceful student activism without interference from either the university authorities or the wider state. Everyone has a right to an education and to political expression.
Over the last period, the PA’s security forces have taken an increasingly repressive turn. The murder of activist Nizar Banat in June last year, and PA forces’ attacks on the subsequent demonstrations against his killing, were particularly dramatic instances of the PA’s repression of the Palestinian people.
Since the Authority’s establishment in 1994 in the wake of the Oslo Accords, it has arrested thousands of Palestinians, many of whom have died under torture. PA forces are held responsible for approximately the assassination of approximately 60 Palestinians. Yet, the PA receives huge amounts of financial and other support from various international bodies, including the European Union.
AOHR UK calls for an investigation into PA repression against university students, and for the exact nature of the EU’s funding of the Authority to be made public.