London, 27th February 2017On Monday 27thof February the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) was invited to talk at the prestigious University of Essex. The event was part of an initiative taking place across universities that will hold educational, cultural, and campaigning events under the banner of Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW). The events, part of an annual international series, seek to raise awareness about Israel’s military occupation, apartheid policies and decades long settler-colonial project.
PRC’s Researcher and Advocacy Coordinator, Pietro Stefanini, gave a lecture to students on the Palestinian Right to Return. A historical background the Palestinian refugee problem was provided. Then he discussed how the right of return is clearly established in international law. Stefanini focused on the situation of Palestinian refugees in Syria and Lebanon to highlight the urgency to address the right of return.
PRC condemns the intimidating and repressive measures of the pro-Israel lobby in the UK and the Government to put pressure on universities to cancel meetings critical of Israel’s criminal policies against Palestinians. They are clearly a threat to to academic freedom and freedom of speech that should be resisted. PRC thanks the University of Essex and the Palestine Society for the invitation and for hosting the event despite intense pressure to cancel.