BC's human rights commissioner calls on universities to protect anti-Israel protesters

While the premiers of Ontario and Quebec have both called for the illegal protests to stop in their respective provinces, BC premier David Eby has done no such thing as of Tuesday.

BC's human rights commissioner calls on universities to protect anti-Israel protesters
The Canadian Press / Darryl Dyck
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In reaction to protest encampments being erected on British Columbian campuses, BC's Human Rights Commissioner Kasari Govender issued a statement calling on universities to protect illegal protests.

"There must be no place in B.C. for antisemitism, anti-Palestinian racism, Islamophobia or public incitement or wilful promotion of hatred against any group. So long as those limits are not violated, universities, colleges and public institutions should stand up for and protect the rights of students, faculty and staff to make their voices heard on campus, including through peaceful encampments. Police also have a duty to uphold and respect the law, including respecting human rights protections. Their role should be to keep the peace and uphold rights," she wrote.

Her statement comes as anti-Israel encampments were set up at the University of British Columbia, as well as the University of Victoria and Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo last week.

Protests similar to these have popped up across college campuses around the US and Canada.

The organizers of the camps are calling on universities to sever ties with Israeli institutions, disinvest from companies they allege are involved in the conflict in Gaza, and denounce what they term as Israel’s "genocide and scholasticide" in Gaza.

"We will remember this moment and this movement in the future, just as we look back on the student movements of our past. The exercise of these rights to peaceful and lawful protest, assembly and expression are foundational to our democracy and to the inherent human right to speak our conscience," her comment continued.

The statement comes after a letter was sent on Monday from nearly 2,000 UBC alumni and students. The letter laid out five "ethical demands in solidarity with Gaza."

• UBC must divest from companies that are complicit in Israeli atrocities

• UBC must cut ties with Israeli institutions

• UBC must condemn Israel’s genocide and scholasticide in Gaza

• UBC must keep marginalized students on campus safe from police

• UBC must respect Palestinian right to return as enshrined under UNGA Resolution 194 and the right to resist as outlined under UNGA Resolution 2625.

While the premiers of Ontario and Quebec have both called for the illegal protests to stop in their respective provinces, BC premier David Eby has done no such thing as of Tuesday.

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