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The Maastricht Diplomat

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Student involvement, (student) politics, and commemoration of the week

It’s Sunday the 28th of April and so it is time for the weeklySunday Summary. Let’s dive together into this week’s stories, where we’ll talk about the ‘student revolutions’ supporting Palestine, the electoral events in Maastricht, and the (new) UK-Rwanda bill. 

As the Israel-Palestine conflict continues, so do student movements supporting Palestine, which have been booming around the globe. In Maastricht, the group Free Palestine Maastricht (FPM) organized yet another walk around the city on Friday 26th. They finished at the train station after having passed through the center. In place formally since 2021, FPM has been very active especially since October 2023, including for example an all-faculty walk four weeks ago. With this, one cannot help but think about other ‘student revolutions’ around different worldwide universities. Last week at the University of Columbia, students have been protesting against the United States’ support of Israel in time for the war against Gaza. This coincides- if not inspired-  with multiple other campuses’ actions, both in the US (Yale, NYU…) but also in other countries, such as Canada with McGill... In France as well with for example the University of Sciences po Paris that went through an occupation. According to different sources, 30 to 60 students camped in the St Germain des près campus. In the US, those events led to police involvement, crystallized with 10 arrests across the countries including Boston, California, and Texas. Those events have, yes, been disruptive to the institutions to prove their points but non-destructive and non-violent. 

In the field of electoral processes, two points for this week. If you missed it, the results of the university council and elections are now out. After a week of campaigning, the new student representatives have been elected, having until the middle of next week to accept their spot. On a larger level, Maastricht will be hosting the third edition of the Maastricht Debate on the 29th of April- the upcoming Monday. This debate is organized for the European elections- hence once every five years. It will host 8 registered parties’ spitzenkandidaten, who will debate in English starting at 7 at the Theater Van Het Vrijthof. The topics that will be talked about are climate change, foreign and security policy as well as EU democracy. So for all of you European studies students or any EU enthusiasts, you can follow in real time the debate and some festivities on the Vrijthof tomorrow evening. 

Finally, the UK confirmed the ‘safety’ of the country of Rwanda, enabling the enactment of the UK-Rwanda asylum and immigration bill. This act was first introduced around 2022, but not fully enacted. As part of the UK immigration crisis plan, the bill enabled the removal of people illegally immigrating within the UK towards Rwanda. It also made it highly difficult for the individuals to challenge their removal from the country. Yet, until last week, the bill was not fully accepted because of the status of Rwanda- or rather, the lack of safe status of Rwanda. Said issue was “corrected” with the qualification of the country as a ‘safe third country’, at least for asylum-seeking purposes, thus jump-starting the process again. 

This week, 50 years ago

This week, Portugal celebrated the 50th anniversary of the end of the longest-lasting dictatorship in Europe. The Carnation Revolution (25th of April 1974) takes its name from the flowers put into the guns and uniforms of the soldiers. Starting as a military coup, civil movements joined, and this revolution ended up being one of the less bloody ones.


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