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News > Palestine

UN Commissioner Rejects Repression of Pro-Palestine Protests

  • Security forces violently arrest a student in the U.S., April 2024.

    Security forces violently arrest a student in the U.S., April 2024. | Photo: X/ @trtworld

Published 30 April 2024

Volker Türk asked university authorities and security forces to respect rights and freedoms.

On Tuesday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, expressed concern over the approach that educational authorities and security forces are applying in several U.S. universities when dispersing Pro-Palestine demonstrations.


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"I am concerned that some actions by law enforcement in various universities have had a disproportionate impact," Türk noted, following protests at institutions such as Columbia University and Yale, which have been met with dozens of arrests, student expulsions, and other repressive measures.

"The measures taken by university authorities and security forces to restrict these acts must be carefully scrutinized to ensure that only necessary measures are applied to protect the rights and freedoms of others," he stated.

In response to accusations that some of these protests may have involved acts or speeches of hatred towards the Jewish people, Türk asserted that such behavior would be "unacceptable and disturbing," but he affirmed that this conduct cannot be generalized to all participants in demonstrations that in many cases occurred without incidents.

"Such behaviors must be addressed individually, rather than taking generalized actions that attribute unacceptable views of a few to all participants in a protest," the High Commissioner assured.

Türk highlighted the tradition of American universities in exercising activism in human rights and stated that freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are fundamental to society, "especially when there are deep disagreements, as is the case with the conflict between Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories."

Over the last 24 hours, Israeli forces killed 47 Palestinians in Gaza, raising to 34,535 the number of people killed since the beginning of the Israeli offensive in October 2023.


Volker Türk
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