The Student Union of the University of Helsinki (HYY) decided on the 21st of November 2013 to investigate and bring to an end its connections with settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories that are in breach of international law. Apart from the activities of HYY itself, the decision also applies to the HYY Group, which has a turnover of approximately 30 million euros. The decision was proposed by the Maailmanpyörä group, comprised of the Independent Left (Sitoutumaton vasemmisto) and the HYY Greens, but received wide support across groups.
Through this decision, HYY – which represents approximately 30 000 university students – joins a growing number of student unions across the world that have publicly withdrawn from having financial connections with the illegal settlements. “This decision is a fine continuation to HYY’s tradition of responsible business activity. Maailmanpyörä’s view is that we must remain a brave forerunner of global responsibility also in the future,” the chairperson of HYY Greens’ group of representatives Johanna Riitakorpi commented.
In 2004, The UN International Court of Justice gave its advisory opinion, according to which Israel’s practice of building settlements on the Occupied Palestinian Territories is against international law. In addition to the International Court of Justice, the UN Security Council, the European Union, the Finnish government and the human rights organisations Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have found the settlements to be against international law.
The chairperson of the Independent Left’s group of representatives Joonas Kinnunen set a challenge to other organizations, stating, “We hope that the example set by HYY will encourage other student organizations to investigate their connections with the illegal settlements, and to decide to end them!”
Joonas Kinnunen +358 50 346 9444 joonas.kinnunen (at) helsinki.fi, chair of the Independent Left group of the Representative Council of HYY
Johanna Riitakorpi +358 50 348 6119 johanna.riitakorpi (at) helsinki.fi, chair of the Green group of the Representative Council of HYY