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US: Anger over unfair treatment of pro-Palestine protesting students

UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education Farida Shahid issued a statement on Friday at the conclusion of her official visit to the United States.

He said that the violent suppression of peaceful protesters and the academic community, arrests, police violence, surveillance, disciplinary action and restrictions are extremely disturbing developments.

According to human rights experts, all these protesters were exercising their freedom of expression and right to assemble peacefully.

He said the way in which protesters have been treated unfairly based on their political beliefs is extremely worrying, especially during demonstrations in support of Palestinians.

Constitutional Commitment

Special Rapporteur Shahid visited Washington DC, Indiana and Colorado during his visit to the United States, at a time when protests in support of Palestine were taking place on American college campuses.

The protesting students were demanding a ceasefire and that universities end financial ties with Israel.

The independent expert said the attacks demonstrate that intellectual freedom and democratic principles are declining at educational sites.

Farida Shahid has appealed to the US government that the fundamental commitment to freedom of expression needs to be reaffirmed, and this can be ensured by giving all students the opportunity to express their diverse views and perspectives without hindrance.

Threats to academic freedom

According to the Special Rapporteur, since January 2021, 307 such bills and policies have been introduced in the US, which impose restrictions on books and curriculum.

This has a numbing effect on the free exchange of ideas and silences marginalised voices.

Farida Shahid said underinvestment in the US educational system is leading to other systemic issues, including teacher shortages and challenges with mental health support for students.

In view of this, he urged the Federal Government to address the existing disparities in investment in education centres.

Additionally, education must be recognized as a human right by federal and provincial governments, ensuring equitable access to all students regardless of their background, identity, income level, place of residence or other personal circumstances.

Human rights expert

Special Rapporteur and Independent Human Rights Expert, United Nations Special human rights procedure are a part of.

His appointment was held at Geneva UN Human Rights Councila specific human rights issue or situation in a country investigate and submit a report She does it for the sake of it.

These positions are honorary and human rights experts do not receive any salary from the United Nations for their work.

David Dass
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