The Tom Hurndall Student Protection Project has been established to tackle the systematic targeting of Palestinian university students for military detention by Israel’s military authorities in violation of basic human rights. LPHR acted after surging cases of students being criminalised and arbitrarily detained for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of association, assembly and expression. We will submit complaints to relevant UN Working Groups and Special Rapporteurs, and engage with governments and parliamentarians.
In June 2021, following a substantive legal complaint submitted by LPHR and Addameer, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention significantly found that three young female Palestinian students from Birzeit University were being held in unlawful arbitrary detention by Israel’s military authorities, due to exercising their basic human rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association.
The UK parliamentarian, Sarah Champion MP, raised this case with the UK Foreign Office Minister for the Middle East, James Cleverly MP. The UK Minister confirmed his awareness of the findings by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on Israel’s continued detention of Layan Kayed, Elyaa Abu Hijla and Ruba Asi, and stated, “We continue to call on the Israeli authorities to comply with their obligations under international law.”
LPHR emphasises there is a continuum in the systematic targeting of children for military detention (see our Children’s Rights Project) and the targeting of university students for military detention. This punitive practice that foreseeably and immeasurably harms young Palestinian lives needs to end immediately.
This crucial project is named in honour and memory of Tom Hurndall, a courageous, British photojournalism student passionate about truth and justice. Tom was shot in the head as he carried a Palestinian child out of the range of an Israeli army sniper in the town of Rafah in the occupied Gaza Strip. Tom died nine months later in hospital in London, on 13 January 2004, aged only 22-years-old. In his journals,‘The Only House Left Standing: The Middle East Journals of Tom Hurndall’, Tom wrote discerningly and objectively about the injustices he had witnessed in Gaza and that had a profound effect on him. This project is an extension of Tom’s profound legacy.
The Tom Hurndall Student Protection Project has the full support of Tom’s mother and LPHR Trustee, Jocelyn Hurndall.
News, Blogs, Events & Urgent Actions
- LPHR submission to the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory concerning the deprivation of liberty of Palestinian university studentsNews item24th January 2023
- Requesting the UK government respond to two recent Israeli military raids on Birzeit University in the occupied West BankUrgent Action24th January 2022
- Raising arbitrary student detention at the United Nations: Fobzu’s interview with LPHRPost14th October 2021
- UK Government response to question by Sarah Champion MP on UN panel decision that Palestinian university students – Layan Kayed, Elyaa Abu Hijla and Ruba Asi – are being arbitrarily detainedNews item22nd July 2021
- UN expert panel finds that three female Palestinian students from Birzeit University are in arbitrary detention, after substantive legal submission made by LPHR and AddameerNews item1st July 2021
- LPHR and Addameer significant update on Israel’s military detention and prosecution of three female Palestinian students from Birzeit UniversityNews item16th June 2021
- Requesting the UK government’s intervention in the prolonged unlawful arbitrary military detention of three young female Palestinian Birzeit University students: Ms Layan Kayed, Ms Elyaa Abu Hijla and Ms Ruba AsiUrgent Action24th February 2021
- LPHR, Addameer and Fobzu Statement on International Education Day: Highlighting the systematic targeting of Palestinian university students for prolonged arbitrary military detention by Israel’s military authoritiesNews item24th January 2021
- LPHR interview on the growing military targeting of Palestinian university students and the launch of the Tom Hurndall Student Protection ProjectPost10th December 2020
- LPHR and Addameer complaint to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on the ongoing Israeli military detention of three female Palestinian students from Birzeit UniversityNews item2nd October 2020
- LPHR and Addameer statement on the release of Birzeit University female Student Union Council head, Ms Shatha Hasan, and ongoing targeting of Palestinian university studentsNews item4th June 2020
- LPHR and Addameer complaint to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on the ongoing Israeli military detention without charge or trial of 22-year old Palestinian student from Birzeit University, Ms Shatha HasanNews item21st May 2020