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UK Home Office revokes visa of Palestinian student after protest speech

Dana Abuqamar, who lost 15 family members in Gaza, said the Home Office revoked her visa on ‘security grounds’
Dana Abuqamar had her student visa revoked by the UK Home Office after she spoke at a pro-Palestine march in Manchester, England (Supplied)
By Areeb Ullah in Manchester, England

The UK government has revoked the student visa of a Palestinian student who lost relatives in Gaza after she spoke at a demonstration at the University of Manchester. 

Dana Abuqamar, a law student who heads the Friends of Palestine Society at the University of Manchester, said the UK government revoked her visa on “national security” grounds, after claiming she was a risk to public safety. 

“The claim they are making is baseless and violates my rights as a resident here in the UK. My legal team has lodged a human rights appeal against this decision to revoke my student visa in my last and final year as a law student,” Abuqamar told Middle East Eye. 

Last year, Abuqamar revealed that she had lost at least 15 relatives in Gaza after the Israeli army bombed a three-storey building in the besieged enclave. 

“During this genocide, the UK Home Office decided to revoke my student visa following public statements supporting the Palestinian right to exercise under international law to resist oppression and break through the siege that was illegally placed on Gaza for over 16 years,” said Abuqamar.

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"Before I came to the UK, I was freedom of expression is a fundamental human right that's cherished here, but it seems to not apply to ethnic minorities, particularly Muslims and Palestinians like myself. We must reject the double standard in the application of human rights by public authorities and rise against this oppression.”

A spokesperson for the UK Home Office said it did not comment on individual cases. 


Last year, Abuqamar faced criticism for comments she made at a pro-Palestine rally where she said, "We are full of pride, we are really, full of joy at what has happened”, following the 7 October Hamas-led attacks on Israel. 

Abuqamar later told the BBC that her comments were misrepresented and that: “The death of any innocent civilian should not be condoned ever, and we don't condone it at all."

“The Home Office has claimed that my presence in the UK threatens national security. They have said the statements I make support extremist views - keep in mind I am a 19-year-old student who studies and supports social justice campaigns through volunteering or advocating for human rights," Abuqamar said.

Earlier this year, Middle East Eye reported that the UK Home Office refused to grant a visa to a Palestinian refugee previously supported by a prestigious British government scheme and now awarded a full scholarship to study for a doctorate at the London School of Economics (LSE).  

Amena El Ashkar, who was born and raised in Lebanon and describes herself as a stateless Palestinian, successfully applied for the four-year PhD programme at LSE in 2022. 

In 2019 Ashkar was a recipient of a Chevening Scholarship, a programme for "emerging leaders" funded by the UK's Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, which enabled her to complete a master's degree in Israeli studies at London's School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). 

But in a response to her visa application, the Home Office told Ashkar that it had been denied on the grounds that granting it would "harm the public interest", without giving any further reasons or explanation.

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