GAZA, August 17, 2011 (WAFA) – Hamas banned eight school students, who received full scholarship to peruse one year education in the United States, from leaving to the US citing “cultural and social reasons,” Wednesday said a rights group.
Eight students from the Gaza Strip were selected to take part in the Youth Exchange and Study Scholarship (YES) program sponsored by the US State Department in cooperation with America-Mideast Educational and Training Services (AMIDEAST) to study for one year in the US.
The students’ parents appealed to Hamas officials to grant their children the necessary documents to facilitate their departure through Erez (Bait Hanoun) crossing, which was scheduled to take place on Wednesday. However, Hamas rejected the appeal for “cultural and social reasons,” in spite of the families' consent to the trip.
“Hamas’ decision contradicts standard human rights and international law,” said the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) in a statement.
The center made endless efforts for two weeks, but to no avail, to seek Hamas’ permission to allow the students to travel in time in order not to lose the scholarships, it said.
PCHR condemned Hamas’ decision and called on Hamas’ leader, Ismail Haniyeh, to immediately intervene and cancel the decision.It urged Hamas to prevent any restrictions imposed on movement and work of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.