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While University students all over the West Bank are taking exams, students from the village of Awarta have missed exams, final project deadlines and suffer post traumatic stress leaving them incapable of sustaining their grades.
The village was singled out for military investigation into the March 11 murders of a family from the nearby settlement of Itamar and was subjected to collective punishment by the Israeli military. Closures, curfews, arbitrary and prolonged detention, physical abuse and extensive property damage have left the entire village traumatized. Awarta students at An Najah National University in Nablus were forced to miss close to two weeks of school during critical exam periods due to military curfew and closures in their village. Ninety-seven percent of these students report that their home was raided by the Israeli military, in some cases more than 10 raids on the same home. During these raids, students’ computers, flash drives, books and school notes were either destroyed or confiscated by the military. Dozens of students have been subjected to interrogations in their homes and in military prisons, forced takings of fingerprints and DNA, and prolonged detentions. Even more students have witnessed siblings and parents being arrested and taken from the family home.
The UNESCO Chair on Human Rights and Democracy at An Najah National University, Nablus, Palestine is dedicated to promoting human rights education, and engages in human rights research and advocacy to provide support and resources to create durable links between the academic and local community. As part of that program the Chair presents a report on the impact of such collective punishment on the students of Awarta’s right to education based on students’ own accounts through interviews and site visits.