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Palestinian NGO files complaint accusing Ontario schools of discrimination

Palestinian students in the West Bank on 23 February 2022 [Wajed Nobani /ApaImages]
Palestinian students in the West Bank on 23 February 2022 [Wajed Nobani /ApaImages]

The Palestinian Canadian Congress (PCC) filed a complaint against the local Ministry of Education and two Ontario school boards to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario for discriminating Palestinian students and the broader Palestinian community.

The complaint was filed after a student was forced to stop sharing a video by the schools, which shed light on the daily trials and tribulations of Palestinians suffering under the occupation of Israel.

James Kafieh, Vice-President at PCC, said, "Unfortunately, we are seeing more and more of this type of anti-Palestinian racism in the functioning of Ontario's schools."

"When you suppress a video about Palestinian life under occupation, you are sending a very clear message to Palestinian students and their parents; you are saying that they do not matter. We need an action plan to eliminate this racism once and for all," he said.

According to Wafa news agency, it comes after the video caused great consternation when it caught the eye of a pro-Israel parent of a student in the York Region District School Board.

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Her complaint that the video was biased and misinformed, and was "spreading falsehoods to impressionable teens", led to its quick removal from the course's online portal.

"We felt this application was important, given the rising tide of anti-Palestinian racism in schools right across the country," said Stephen Ellis from the Canada-based Legal Centre for Palestine.

He added, "The government and its friends in the Israel lobby have to understand that Palestinians will no longer tolerate this racism and that a remedy exists for the suppression of this video under the Ontario Human Rights Code. Apartheid Israel should not be directing the Ontario curriculum."

The application addressed the Congress, the Ministry of Education, the Simcoe District School Board and the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board as parties that are discriminating Palestinian students and the broader Palestinian community.

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