Ma'an News Agency
August 18, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights denounced Wednesday the decision by Hamas to ban Gaza scholarship students from studying in the United States.

"PCHR believes that this decision contradicts basic human rights standards, especially the Universal Declaration of Human Rights," a statement said.

The rights group said that the students were banned from traveling for "social and cultural reasons" by the Ministry of Education in the Gaza Strip.

Eight students from Gaza schools had won scholarships through the YES program run by AMIDEAST, having been chosen on academic ability after a year long selection process. The students would have spent one year studying in the United States.

"This Decision means also that a number of our best students will be deprived of benefiting from scholarships to study abroad while we are in a dire need to communicate with the outside world, break the isolation and blockade imposed on our people and develop our capacities," PCHR added.

The rights group had made intensive efforts, it said, to lobby Hamas-run ministries to allow the students to travel but were informed that the decision to prevent students leaving had not changed.

The students were due to travel on August 17.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights "believes that it is neither acceptable nor logical that, while we are struggling to break the illegal blockade imposed on Gaza by the Israeli occupation forces, we impose illegal restrictions on the enjoyment of the right to education and the right to freedom of movement."


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017