British Committee for the Universities of Palestine letter to Home Secretary

10 November 2015

Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Home Office
2 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF

Dear Minister

My colleagues in BRICUP are disturbed to learn that four health professionals from Palestine have been refused permission to attend an academic conference at Kingston University where they are scheduled to present papers, along with a fifth professional from Palestine who planned to attend the conference. The conference on “Rethinking trauma and resilience in the context of political violence: new directions in research and practice” is to take place on 14-15 November 2015, and is sponsored by the Kingston University’s Department of Psychology & School of Social Work, the Palestine Trauma Centre (UK), the UK-Palestine Mental Health Network and the Palestine-UK Social Work Network. The individuals refused permission to attend are three medical doctors and a nurse from Gaza, all of them employees of the local Ministry of Health:

Dr Hasnaa Al Sourani
Dr Amal Shaat
Dr Rula Al Helo
Mr Yousif Abu Rahma

The fifth individual is Dr Nahida Al-Arja, a psychologist from Bethlehem University.

As you must be aware, the Israeli authorities frequently obstruct the movement of Palestinian academics seeking to travel abroad, as part of their systematic attempts to

cripple higher education in the West Bank and Gaza.1 We are extremely disturbed to find that the Home Office is aggravating the difficulties that our Palestinian colleagues regularly encounter under Israeli occupation. We urge you, as a matter of urgency, to reverse the decision of your officials and enable the five invitees to attend the conference.

Yours sincerely
(Dr) Robert Boyce
Secretary, BRICUP