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FEMYSO condemns the unacceptable violence against students in protest for Palestine

As the international community’s failure grows in front of the unfolding of the genocide in Gaza, courageous students standing in solidarity across Europe are met with unjust repercussions, police brutality and punitive measures1

As Israel’s military campaign killed over 35 000 Palestinians and left a trail of demolished infrastructures, including the destruction of all universities in Gaza, the higher education system has completely collapsed. Meanwhile, students worldwide are fearlessly uniting to demand justice, urging academic institutions to take a stand against this ongoing genocide. Their demands are unequivocal: 

  • Immediate and permanent ceasefire to end the bloodshed in Gaza and occupied territories. 
  • Universities to openly disclose any ties with entities profiting from the genocide, ensuring accountability and ethical responsibility.  
  • Divestment from complicit entities and businesses supporting the oppression of Palestinians, sending a clear message that complicity will not be tolerated.  
  • Welcome Palestinian refugee students impacted by the genocide, offering support and resources to facilitate their integration into the education systems in Europe.  

Yet, those peacefully exercising their rights under Article 12 of the EU Charter on Human Rights2 are met with violent repression, facing arrests and assaults with bulldozers, batons and water cannons.   
In Sorbonne Université3, 88 students were arrested and detained by the police, while in Amsterdam, over 100 students and faculty members were subjected to brutal beatings and arrests4. Elsewhere, Gaza solidarity encampments have sprung up in renowned universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, Science Po Paris, Humboldt University in Germany, University of Bologna, showcasing solidarity for the Palestinian people and students.   
 
Throughout history, student movements have served as powerful catalysts for transformative societal change. From the civil rights era to anti-apartheid struggles, students have been at the forefront of movements fighting for justice and equality. In 2024, the current protests of solidarity towards Palestinians represent not just a momentary uprising, but a continuation of the enduring aspirations for justice that spans generations. 

FEMYSO calls on the academic institutions and universities to honour and safeguard fundamental rights of students to engage in peaceful protest. It is a responsibility of these institutions to protect civil liberties and unequivocally reject any use of violence against the very individuals they are tasked with educating, as these students represent the future of our societies. 

We commend the courage, the integrity and resilience of students who stand against injustice, as well as those who expressed dissent against what will undoubtedly become another tragic dark stain on modern history.  

Moreover, we urge European governments and international institutions to take immediate action to halt Israeli genocide in Gaza, uphold principles of international law, leaving no room for ambiguity in the pursuit of justice and accountability. 

[END]  

Notes:   

1. FEMYSO (est. 1996) is a network organisation for 32 Muslim youth and student organisations across 22 European countries, and is the leading voice for European Muslim youth, developing and empowering them, and working to build a more diverse, cohesive and vibrant Europe.    

2. For more information or requests please email media@femyso.org 

References

1 Clashes and arrests as pro-Palestinian protests spread across European campuses | Israel-Gaza war | The Guardian 

2 Article 12 – Freedom of assembly and of association | European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (europa.eu) 

3 https://www.lemonde.fr/societe/article/2024/05/08/mobilisation-propalestinienne-88-etudiants-en-garde-a-vue-apres-avoir-occupe-un-amphitheatre-a-la-sorbonne_6232233_3224.html 

4 Amsterdam pro-Palestinian student protest broken up by police | Reuters 

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