Staffordshire University students union twins with Palestine Polytechnic (Hebron).
Text of motion passed in April 2007
PALESTINE AND THE RIGHT TO EDUCATION
THIS UNION NOTES
- That Palestine Polytechnic University (Hebron) has a Youth Exchange Programme.
- That the Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees equal rights, for all,
including the promise that ‘Everyone has the right to education’ (Article 26). That
the status of the Palestinian territories (including West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East
Jerusalem) is described in International Law as “Occupied territories”, and that the
Fourth Geneva Convention, 1949 states that “The occupying power shall, with the
cooperation of the national and local authorities, facilitate the proper working of
all institutions devoted to the care and education of children”. (Article 50)
- That over one third of the Palestinian population are students in full-time
school or University education. That the 700 IDF roadblocks and other military
obstacles frequently prevent students from being able to attend University.
- That Birzeit University has been closed down by Israeli military order 15
times in its history; and that all the Palestinian Universities and the majority
of schools, including kindergartens, were closed down by military order between
the years 1988-1992, when Palestinian education was effectively made ‘illegal’ by
the Israeli occupation, denying a whole generation their right to education.
- That Hebron University and the Palestine Polytechnic University in Hebron were
closed down by Israeli military order for much of 2003; and that the students of
Hebron had to physically break down the gates to their Universities, in defiance
of the Israeli Army, to reconvene classes and demand their right to an education.
- That students from Gaza are banned from reaching the 8 Palestinian Universities
in the West Bank: In 2000 there were 350 Gazan students at Birzeit University, in
April 2005 there were only 35.
- That 362km of the projected 730km of the Israeli separation wall has been
constructed, all of it on Palestinian lands, dividing, isolating and encircling
Palestinian areas and Universities.
- That 8 out of the total 11 Universities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have
been shelled or broken into by the Israeli Army since September 2000.
- That Palestine Polytechnic University (Hebron) of the occupied city of Hebron
is a central location for students from other West Bank districts such as Qalqilya,
Jenin and Tulkarem.
- That students from Tulkarem, Qalqilya and Jenin represent 50% of the 13000
students of Al-Najah University. A lot of those students are denied access to
education due to the direct impact that the Apartheid Wall has on their cities.
E.g. Qalqilya is totally enclosed by the Wall.
- That some Palestinian students left their villages due to the harassments
and delays faced on checkpoints, and are currently renting accommodation in Hebron:
an extra and unnecessary burden on students.
- The economic impacts made students postpone their education, and in other cases
some have left the University to work in order to support their families or to pay
their fees. This phenomenon has increased more during the last year due to the economic blockade
suffered by the Palestinians.
THIS UNION BELIEVES
- That Youth Exchanges are one of the best ways to build links with students abroad and that
the experience that this will give to both our students and students abroad is indispensable.
- Palestinian education has been severely hindered since the outbreak of the Second
Intifada in September 2000 by blanket curfews, the presence of roadblocks and recently the
erection of the Wall. The cumulative effects of these measures have put the future of many
Palestinian Universities at grave risk.
- The measures noted above violate international law including provisions against collective
punishment and guarantees for the protection of civilian populations under military occupation,
students’ right to education and the fundamental rights of human beings to live in dignity and freedom.
- Education is critical to the healthy functioning of Palestinian society, as well as the
possibility of peace and reconciliation between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples. It is the
responsibility of governments, civil society organisations and ordinary people to defend the
universal right to education and to demand its realisation.
THIS UNION RESOLVES
- To do everything in the power of the Union to build links with Palestine Polytechnic
University (Hebron) l Youth Exchange Programme and to lobby the University to do the same.
- To send a letter of support and a copy of this motion to Palestine Polytechnic University
(Hebron) Student Union inviting them to twin with Staffordshire University Students’ Union.
- To lobby the University to provide at least three scholarships for Palestinian students
who wish to study at the Staffordshire University.
- To support the students of Birzeit “right to education campaign” and to campaign for Human
Rights for all Palestinians, both within the territory of mandate Palestine and for Palestinian
- To raise the above concerns with colleagues in the National Union of Students and encourage
NUS to support Palestinian students’ right to education.
- To publicise our policy of twinning with Palestine Polytechnic University (Hebron) Student
Union by erecting a plaque, with the following words:
Palestine and the Right to Education
Staffordshire University Students Union is twinned with the Palestine Polytechnic University
(Hebron) in Hebron. Students in Palestine have had their right to education consistently denied
by the Israeli Occupation: checkpoints, attacks on Universities and limitations on movement
seriously hinder the ability of students in Palestine to learn. The Universal Declaration of
Human Rights declares that everyone has the `right to education’: we fully support the struggle
of our Palestinian brothers and sisters to realise this fundamental Human Right.
You can contact the Student Union at Staffs Uni here.
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It was last updated on 15th June 2007.