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Netherlands

Dutch Authorities Prohibit Entry of British-Palestinian Surgeon

The Netherlands Bars British-Palestinian Surgeon, Prompting Parliamentary Inquiry

Following in the footsteps of Germany and France, the Netherlands has denied entry to British Palestinian plastic surgeon Ghassan Abu-Sittah, who had been working in Gaza during the early stages of the Israeli offensive.

Abu-Sittah, who also serves as the rector of the University of Glasgow, was scheduled to speak at the University of Amsterdam and participate in an event organized by The Rights Forum, an advocacy group for Palestinian rights. However, his plans were abruptly halted when Dutch authorities refused him entry into the country.

In response to this decision, members of parliament from GroenLinks-PvdA and D66 have called on Foreign Minister Hanke Bruins Slot to provide clarity regarding the circumstances surrounding Abu-Sittah’s ban from the Netherlands.

MP Kati Piri of GroenLinks-PvdA voiced her concern on social media, labeling the ban as “unprecedented.” She argued that the Netherlands should welcome individuals like Abu-Sittah, who serve as witnesses to human rights violations in Gaza and seek to engage with international organizations in the Netherlands.

Similarly, D66 parliamentarian Jan Paternotte expressed astonishment at the ban, emphasizing the need for transparency and accountability in such cases.

This is not the first instance of Abu-Sittah facing travel restrictions. Last month, he was denied entry to Germany, where he was slated to speak at a conference on his experiences in Gaza. Likewise, French authorities prevented his travel to France, attributing their decision to a year-long visa ban imposed by German authorities for the entire Schengen area, as reported by Le Monde.

The Rights Forum condemned the Dutch decision, asserting that it was based on an “administrative ban” imposed without justification. The lack of clarity surrounding these travel restrictions has raised concerns about potential implications for academic freedom and the exchange of ideas.

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