Dear Vice Chancellor of The University of Huddersfield,
We, the BAME Ambassadors, are writing to you regarding the violence that is unfolding in Palestine. As a result, we have felt inclined to question where our own actions and consumer choices may be fuelling this violence.
Firstly, we are deeply concerned by the evictions that are happening in Sheikh Jarrah which are an international violation of human rights according to the UN: "In many cases in East Jerusalem, including in Sheikh Jarrah, the forced eviction of Palestinians is occurring within the context of Israeli settlement construction and expansion, illegal under international humanitarian law. Some of these are based on pre-1948 claims, while Palestine refugees are discriminatorily banned from reclaiming their properties/homes lost in West Jerusalem in 1948. However, under international law, an occupying power is obligated to respect the laws in force of the occupied territory, unless absolutely prevented. Claims brought by Israeli settler organisations following Israel’s occupation and annexation of East Jerusalem, are disputed."
In 2020, it was found by The Palestine Solidarity Campaign that over 100 UK universities invest in Israeli companies linked to violations of international law. As a group of students who are greatly concerned by the violence that is being inflicted upon Palestinians, we are dismayed and greatly disappointed to find that your institution is subsidising this violence through financial investments in such companies.
As an educational institution that has a duty to safeguard all individuals that exchange with your institution, and to uphold a standard of protection not only directly within your institution, but with the impact of your institution on both the local and global community. Furthermore, as a fee-charging institution that we pay to attend, we are deeply concerned that you are fuelling this conflict in the form of financial investments into such companies. This is not the case for all universities in the UK, for example, last year Manchester University began divesting from firms that were complicit in Israeli violations of international law.
In regard to this, we are demanding that you take the steps to divest and boycott from Israeli companies that are fuelling this harm. We ask you to sign the pledge to be Apartheid Free, https://www.palestinecampaign.org/apartheid-free-pledge/.
We ask how you intend to move forward to ensure your university is not complicit in international human rights violations against the Palestinian people? What steps have been taken thus far to ensure that your investments are ethical and do not contribute to the colonisation and genocide of Palestinians?
Answers to these questions are legally permitted to ourselves by The Freedom of Information Act regarding where our fees are being spent. As fee-paying customers of your university, we are deeply concerned by the human rights violations being inflicted upon Palestinians.
We look forward to hearing from you.
The Huddersfield Students’ Union BAME Ambassadors
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