To mark the UNESCO International Day of Education, Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights have today published its submission to the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory, Ms. Francesca Albanese, on the deprivation of liberty of Palestinian university students. It was submitted to the UN Special Rapporteur on 10 November 2022, following her call for submissions on deprivation of liberty pursuant to her forthcoming thematic report.
LPHR focused its submission on the issue of the systematic targeting of Palestinian university students by Israel’s military authorities for arrest and detention. The clear arbitrary nature of their military detention, and the multiple human rights violations which flow from i) the deprivation of liberty (which includes a complete block to their university education), ii) the lack of due process safeguards within the military detention and court system, and iii) the harshness of the detention condition, gives rise to serious concerns about the systematic use of deprivation of liberty against Palestinian university students in clear contravention of a range of norms under international human rights law.
LPHR has established the Tom Hurndall Student Protection Project – working closely with the Palestinian human rights organisation Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association – to counter the targeting of this specific category of Palestinians: young Palestinian university students who are being systematically subjected to a range of human rights violations by Israel’s military authorities due to exercising their basic and fundamental rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association. There is clearly also a discriminatory component to this targeting, as only Palestinian students are subject to this unlawful treatment by Israel’s military authorities.
LPHR’s submission makes material reference to a substantive written opinion issued in May 2021 by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (‘UN WGAD’) following a complaint submission made by LPHR and Addameer in relation to the prolonged arbitrary military detention of three Palestinian female university students. The UN WGAD upheld the substance of our complaint in full.
LPHR’s submission also outlines our view that the practice and apparent policy of systematic targeting of Palestinian university students for engagement in fundamental human rights activities should be viewed as a direct extension of the more widely reported practice of Palestinian children being systematically maltreated in military detention.
LPHR accordingly encourages the UN Special Rapporteur, and other relevant actors, to consider focusing specific attention on the apparent systematic targeting of Palestinian children and young people for arbitrary military detention/deprivation of liberty. The UNESCO International Day of Education, which celebrates the role of education for peace and development, is an appropriate day to draw public attention to this serious and pervasive human rights issue.