Pro-Palestinian Protesters Have the « Right » to Camp at McGill University, Says Canadian Special Representative

Pro-Palestinian protesters have the « right » to occupy McGill University campus, according to Canada’s special representative for combating Islamophobia, Amira Elghawaby, even though it is up to the administration to « determine the limits. »

« It is really important that we protect the right to freedom of expression, freedoms, » she said in an interview with Le Devoir. « For a long time in Canada’s history, students have been protesting against issues that concern them. So, it’s a part of our history, and I think they have the right to do so, » added Ms. Elghawaby.

However, « if there is something that police or the administration find [that crosses] the line of the law, consequences should be taken, » she added, without specifying what that would entail.

Amira Elghawaby testified on Monday morning about the rise of Islamophobia in the country before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, which has begun a study on « Islamophobia and additional measures that could be taken to address the legitimate fears expressed by the Muslim community in Canada. »

It has been over a month since students set up tents on McGill University campus. The Superior Court rejected, on May 15, a request for a temporary injunction made by the institution.

Quebec Premier François Legault has repeatedly stated that the camp should be dismantled. Meanwhile, Ottawa has been vague on the subject. Federal Justice Minister Arif Virani stated that it was the responsibility of McGill University to « manage » the situation of pro-Palestinian protesters on its campus.

This report is supported by the Local Journalism Initiative, funded by the Government of Canada.