The annual conference of the National Union of Students (Scotland) voted almost unanimously to support the Right 2 Education Campaign (R2E). The motion mandates NUS Scotland to affiliate to the campaign which is run by students at Birzeit University, near Ramallah in the West Bank as well as to facilitate individual students’ unions affiliation to the campaign. It was passed with an overwhelming majority – with only one vote against and over 100 votes for, with no one even speaking against it!
A member of Edinburgh Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and the BME Liberation group at Edinburgh University delivered the speech for. The delegate from Edinburgh University Students’ Association (EUSA)- who are affiliated to the campaign as well as being twinned with Birzeit University- outlined how Palestinians are denied access to education, as well as many other fundamental human rights, as well as the ongoing violence, suppression and oppression they endure at the hands of the illegal occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, as well as the ongoing siege on Gaza and the systematic oppression of Palestinians within the declared state of Israel.
As well affiliating to the Right 2 Education Campaign, the motion also mandates NUS Scotland to release a public statement of support and solidarity as well as ‘to support the Right 2 Education Campaign’s call for international action against Israeli human right violations.’
With no speech taken against the motion – the summation was taken by a delegate from Students’ Association University of the West of Scotland (SAUWS), who made the case for a universal fight for access to education, making connections between movements for education in Scotland and the rest of the UK and the same fights happening across the world. The delegates who spoke made drew comparisons between the activists in attendance at the conference and the many student activists in Palestine who have been brutally arrested and imprisoned simply for representing their fellow students, something that students in Scotland and the UK take for granted. They argued that to fight for truly fair access to education the fight must be globalised.
For more information of the Right 2 Education Campaign and how to get involved see their website
The full motion can be seen below –
Right to education (R2E)
1. That over 1/3 of the Palestinian population are students in full-time education and face systematic attacks on their education as a result of the Israeli occupation.
2. That Israel uses physical barriers of movement in order to isolate and ghettoise Palestinians. The existence of barriers such as military checkpoints and the separation wall prevent thousands of students and teachers from accessing institutions.
3. That Birzeit University in the West Bank has been sealed off on a number of occasions by roadblocks; and the road to Birzeit remains subject to frequent ‘flying checkpoints’, which block, harass and intimidate students and staff.
4. That Al-Quds University in East Jerusalem is surrounded by an 8 metre-high concrete wall, which cuts the University off from over a third of its students.
5. That over 70 educational institutions from nurseries to universities in the Gaza strip have been partially or fully destroyed. 32
6. Every year between 500-700 Palestinian children, some as young as 10, are detained and prosecuted in the Israeli military court system.
7. Both institutions and representatives of students’ unions have been targeted through means such as forced closures and detention without charge respectively.
1. That the right to education is enshrined as a fundamental human right in international law, as declared in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948).
2. It is the responsibility of students and wider society to defend the universal right to education and to demand its realisation.
1. To affiliate to the Right to Education Campaign and release a public statement of solidarity and support.
2. To facilitate Students’ Unions’ affiliation to the campaign.
3. To support the Right to Education Campaign’s call for international action against Israeli human right violations.