UN expert condemns crackdown on freedom of expression in U.S.-Xinhua

UN expert condemns crackdown on freedom of expression in U.S.

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-05-11 03:07:30

GENEVA, May 10 (Xinhua) -- A United Nations (UN) expert on education this week condemned a "violent crackdown on peaceful demonstrators" in the United States (US).

During a 10-day visit to the United States, the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the right to education Farida Shaheed said she was "deeply troubled" by these events, which led to "arrests, detentions, police violence, surveillance and disciplinary measures and sanctions against members of the educational community exercising their right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression."

"I am particularly concerned about the unequal treatment of protesters based on their political stance, particularly targeting pro-Palestinian demonstrators," she said in a press release.

A wave of anti-war protests has swept through universities across the U.S. in recent days, with students calling for a ceasefire in Palestine. They are also urging university administrations to reevaluate their investments in Israel, particularly amid escalating civilian casualties in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Shaheed voiced her concern over a decline in intellectual freedom in educational environments, and called on the U.S. government to uphold its core value of freedom of speech.

She also expressed her alarm over the 307 bills and policies imposing educational gag orders that have been introduced in the U.S. since January 2021.

"These policies, manifested through book bans and restrictions on curricula, have instilled a pervasive 'chilling effect' that stifles the free exchange of ideas and silences marginalized voices," she said.

Shaheed urged the U.S. to remove police from schools, and instead allocate resources towards hiring trained professionals such as counselors and social workers to establish a secure and supportive educational environment.

The UN expert visited Washington, D.C. and the states of Indiana and Colorado during the tour, and is set to present a full report on her findings to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2025.