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The right to protest to end injustice

When Sydney Peace Foundation Human Rights Medal recipient Nelson Mandela was released from prison, his first overseas visit was to the University of California, Berkeley to thank students for their unfailing support through peaceful protest demanding an end to apartheid.

For 26 years, the Sydney Peace Foundation has recognized and applauded movements for peace and justice. At this time of heightened protest against war crimes committed in Israel and Palestine, we remain committed to the advancement of non-violent solutions to conflict and adherence to international human rights law.

As a foundation of the University of Sydney, the Sydney Peace Foundation acknowledges and welcomes the institution’s long-standing commitment to free speech, academic freedom, and the right of staff and students to assemble and protest peacefully and safely.

We support the call by students and University of Sydney staff for the university to cut its ties with the weapons industry. And, for a ban on weapons exports from our nation to Israel, including any arms parts.

We support, too, the call for the University of Sydney to ensure that it is not accepting funding from companies that profit from the violence in Gaza, the West Bank and in Israel.

Universities have a role to play in the protection of freedom of speech, especially when such speech or protest calls for an end to oppression and mass murder. 

The Sydney Peace Foundation reiterates our call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire, the release of all hostages, and an end to the siege on Gaza. This latest assault is part of a decades-long crisis that can only be brought to a just outcome through dialogue and respect for international humanitarian law.