Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights University of Ottawa (SPHR) is a student run, non-profit organization that advocates on a strong social justice platform to uphold the rights of the Palestinian people in the face of human rights violations and all forms of racism, discrimination, misinformation and misrepresentation.

February 23, 2009

URGENT: IAW Posters Banned on Campus

*University of Ottawa Bans Israeli Apartheid Week Poster - Call to Action
February 21, 2009*

On February 20, 2009, the University of Ottawa became the second Ottawa
administration to ban the posters of Israeli Apartheid Week 2009, following
the lead of Carleton University in a blatant violation of free expression
for students speaking out on human rights. Like Carleton University's
administration, the University of Ottawa's Communications Office used
spurious "human rights" claims to ban the poster. The Communications
Office's short communique to Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights reads:

"A poster from the campus group Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights has
recently come to the attention of the Communications Office. All posters
approved by the Communications Office must promote a campus culture where
all members of the community can play a part in a declaration of human
rights recognizing the inherent dignity and equal rights of all students.
Consequently, we will not place this particular poster on our campus

Please view the poster here:

This curt note notably fails to explain how the poster by noted cartoonist
Carlos Latuff, depicting an Israeli attack helicopter (labeled "Israel")
firing a missile at a Palestinian child (labeled "Gaza"), does not
"recognize the inherent dignity and equal rights of all students". In fact,
the banning of the poster is a failure to recognize the dignity and equal
rights of Palestinian students and those who seek to expose the violations
of human rights of Palestinians.

The poster is symbolic but it also depicts a factual situation. 430 children
were killed by the Israeli military in its latest attack on Gaza. It seems
that according to a growing number of campus administrations, depicting
these killings on a poster is some kind of human rights violation, while the
killings themselves, or the bombing of a University in Gaza, are not
(neither campus administration condemned the killings of civilians or the
bombing of the Islamic University in Gaza).

In contrast to these campus administrations, the movement for Palestinian
human rights is at the forefront of the struggle to recognize the inherent
dignity and equal rights of all students, and indeed, all people. As the
students at Carleton wrote when the poster was banned on their campus, "the
campaign is proudly anti-racist, and founded on the principles of opposition
to all forms of racism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. It draws its
inspiration from the global campaign to end South African apartheid and is
led by many of the same individuals who were at the forefront of that
earlier struggle."

We present the same demands to the University of Ottawa as the students at
Carleton University demanded of their administration:

1. Immediately lift the ban on the Israeli Apartheid Week poster and
publicly apologize for the banning.
2. Explain, publicly and precisely, how the profound error of banning the
poster was made and address how to prevent such violations from occurring in
3. Sponsor a full public debate--ensuring generous access to the entire
university community--on the University of Ottawa's position on the proposed
institutional boycott of Israeli academic institutions.
4. Appoint a university/community Commission to investigate the record of
the University in relation to democratic discourse and equity around issues
of Palestine solidarity.

We call on student organizations, social justice groups and concerned
individuals around the world to support students at the University of Ottawa
and the broader fight for freedom of expression.

Please take the following actions:
* Email/Fax/Call the President of the University of Ottawa, Allan Rock,
demanding that he immediately restore the Charter rights of students and
send a copy of your message of support to the Director of the Communications
Office, Andree Dumulon. Please send a copy of your letter to
Allan Rock: email, fax (613)562-5103, phone
Director of communications: email, phone (613)562-5800
ext. 315

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