Saturday, May 25, 2024

UN expresses concern over students arrests at US universities

The UN human rights office has voiced concern about the detention of hundreds of students during demonstrations in support of Palestine at several US universities.

“We’re very concerned by the arrests of hundreds of students at US universities, and a number of cases that are quite heavy-handed response by the police to the protests,” spokesperson Jeremy Laurence told Anadolu.

Stressing that rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly are “fundamental,” Laurance said: “Everyone has a right to peacefully protest, and they shouldn’t be obstructed in doing so.”

He added the office is aware of reports about “antisemitism” and “anti-Islamism” at the protests, adding that they should also be condemned and stopped.

“People have the right to protest and (express their) political views as long as they respect. Their political views, in this case, with respect to what’s happening in Gaza, that they’re allowed to air their opinion and express their views on the events that are unfolding that which are tragic, we know that,” he continued.

“They should be entitled to express those views.”

Pro-Palestine student protests in the US started days ago at Columbia University and spread to other universities and colleges.

Student-led protests demanding universities condemn Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza and divest from Israeli companies have continued to spread, with new encampments erected in the face of law enforcement crackdowns.

Israel has waged a brutal offensive on the Gaza Strip since a cross-border attack by the Palestinian group, Hamas, on Oct. 7, which Tel Aviv said killed less than 1,200 people.

More than 34,000 Palestinians have since been killed, mostly women and children, and nearly 77,000 injured amid mass destruction and severe shortages of necessities.

Israel is accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

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