As a result of the conflict between Hamas and Israel, the humanitarian crisis in Gaza has heightened, claiming thousands of victims in the past month. The situation is catastrophic for local civilians and students, which is why the National Union of University Students in Finland (SYL) is demanding Finland and the EU’s political leaders to take immediate action to reach a ceasefire, have hostages released, protect the civilians and to enable humanitarian aid to reach the area. As SYL is active in development cooperation, we also urge Finland to increase its humanitarian aid efforts to the worst-affected areas.
SYL is determined to pursue human rights and lasting peace, and extends solidarity internationally towards those who are subjected to violence and persecution. We strongly condemn the military action taken by Israel that has claimed more than 11,000 victims and resulted in a huge shortage of basic food items, water, medication and electricity in Gaza. More than a third of those killed in Gaza were children. Similarly, we also condemn the brutal Hamas attack against Israel that claimed the lives of more than 1,200 people, and demand that all hostages be released immediately. Military action in violation of international humanitarian law is not only causing immense human suffering but also destroying schools and universities, and thereby depriving people of academic freedom and the right to education.
The path towards lasting peace calls for respect of human rights and international humanitarian rights, and meeting the security needs of both Palestine and Israel. Israel has continued to occupy Palestinian territories for more than five decades, and Gaza has been blockaded by Egypt and Israel since 2007. The UN Security Council and international human rights organisations have declared this an intolerable situation. Israeli action in violation of international law, however, was no justification for the violent attack by Hamas. Any solutions must begin by ending the vicious cycle of violence. At the moment, however, the focus must be on protecting civilians.
Finland must contribute to a ceasefire and delivery of humanitarian aid internationally, and also support students fleeing the violence. SYL has been involved in establishing the Students at Risk system in Finland, and we are calling for similar support to all students fleeing the war and violence as what we have offered to Ukrainians.
SYL emphasises that there is no room for racism and discrimination and that hate crimes stemming from antisemitism, islamophobia or any other religious conviction are unacceptable. Students must have the right for a safe study environment everywhere, and universities must work in particular for the safety of students affected by this conflict.
President of SYL
044 906 5004