The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) in Gaza is upset that the Hamas-controlled government has stopped eight students from travelling to the U.S. to study on scholarships.
The Minister of Education told the 15- to 17-year-olds, who had received funding through the U.S. Department of State, that they can not leave the country because of “social and cultural reasons.”
“This decision means 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,” said PCHR in a press release, adding “it is neither acceptable nor logical that … we impose illegal restrictions on the enjoyment of the right to education and the right to freedom of movement.”
The Youth Exchange and Study Program scholarship recipients would have lived with host families, attended U.S. high schools and participated in community service, youth leadership training, civics classes and other workshops for one year. Palestinians from Gaza have participated since 2003.
PCHR says they made an “intensive effort” to persuade the Minister to change his mind.
Hamas, which overthrew the Palestinian Authority in Gaza in 2007, is considered a terrorist organization by the Canadian government for having launched hundreds of terrorist attacks.