Freedom of Education is a Right
August 18, 2011

The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy MIFTAH, strongly condemns the unjust decision by Gaza’s education ministry to ban eight honor students from traveling to the United States on a one-year scholarship. The eight students received scholarships from AMIDEAST through the US State Department program YES to study for one high school year in the U.S. According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights who received complaints from the student’s parents, the applications to facilitate travel for the students were denied by the ministry for “social and cultural reasons.”

MIFTAH is appalled by the flagrant denial of these students’ right to education and their parents’ right to choose the method of education they see fit for their children. The ban is a violation of basic human rights and the Hamas-led government in Gaza should be held accountable for its transgression.

All children should be allowed the right to schooling and their place and method of education. The denial by the Hamas authorities in Gaza of this right must not go unchecked by Palestinian civil society and all those who believe in this freedom.

MIFTAH calls on all relevant parties to pressure the Hamas ministry of education to rescind its arbitrary decision and allow the students to travel to the United States. There is no justification for our own people to impose a different sort of blockade in the form of restrictions on travel and education over and above the Israeli blockade on the Strip.

It is extremely important that all those concerned with personal freedoms and rights stand up in the face of this injustice. Personal education is not a right to be tampered with nor is it a decision to be taken by government authorities.