Journal des Alternatives

October 5 - UNESCO World Teacher’s Day

Quebec teachers gather in Palestine: The Wall Must Fall!

PRESS RELEASE

Alternatives, 4 October 2004

(Montreal, October 3, 2004) - In 1994, UNESCO designated October 5 as World Teacher’s Day to promote and thank teachers for the important role they play in society. This year, 20 teachers from 12 Quebec educational institutions will be in Palestinian Territory to participate in an international conference titled Education, Globalization and Social Change. It takes place in Ramallah from October 4 to 6.

The conference is organized in collaboration with the Teacher Creativity Center, a Palestinian non-governmental organization devoted to education that is public, citizen-based and democratic. Quebec participants include the Montreal-based NGO Alternatives and the Fédération nationale des enseignantes et des enseignants du Québec (FNEEQ-CSN). The event provides the opportunity for more than 80 Palestinian teachers to meet and exchange views with the Quebec delegation, as well as more than 20 other teachers from various industrialized and developing countries.

On World Teacher’s Day, October 5, activities will be organized around the theme, “The Wall Must Fall,” in reference to the 730-kilometre enclosure of electric fences and an eight-metre concrete wall being built around and through Palestinian Territory.

“The conference will be an opportunity to launch an appeal to teachers around the world to examine and explain the impacts of the wall that is encircling and dividing Palestinian Territory,” said FNEEQ-CSN President Ronald Cameron, who is leading the Quebec delegation.

Once it is complete, the wall will deny access by 250,000 Palestinians in 67 different cities, towns and villages to their lands and workplaces. Many students and teachers are already or will soon be blocked from their schools. Clients of health and social services will be affected in the same way, since many clinics and offices are located outside their enclosed communities. Hundreds of houses and businesses have been destroyed. Thousands of acres of olive groves and other cultivated lands have been uprooted. Water wells, roads and electricity distribution systems have been cut off.

The wall has greatly added to the human drama and economic disaster in the Palestinian territories. According to both a ruling by the International Court of Justice at The Hague and United Nations resolution A/ES 10/15, adopted during a special session July 20, 2004, its construction is a grave violation of human rights and breaks international law.

The wall contributes to the spread of hate and discrimination while jeopardizing any solution to the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis. The wall must fall!

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The Quebec delegation is composed of teachers from a number of Cégeps (provincial colleges), including Édouard-Montpetit, Lévis-Lauzon, Limoilou, Montmorency, Région de l’Amiante, Rimouski, Saint-Laurent, Sherbrooke, and Vieux-Montréal, from the Centre d’études de Chibougamau, Collège Regina Assumpta, and from Laval University. Pierre Beaudet, the director of Alternatives, will also attend the conference.

Ronald Cameron and Pierre Beaudet are available for interviews.


For further information (Montreal):

France Désaulniers
Information FNEEQ-CSN
514-219-2947

France-Isabelle Langlois
Alternatives
514-577-0942

Lyle Stewart
CSN communications
514-796-2066

(Palestine):

Refaat Saaba, Teacher Creativity Centre (TCC): (972) 2-295-9960,
Christine Messier, chargée de mission for Alternatives: (972) 6-733-6569

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