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Brown University Committee Votes in Favor of Divesting From Companies Complicit in Human Rights Abuses in Palestine

The vote comes eight months after 69 percent of student voters supported a referendum to divest from companies profiting from military occupation.

The student-led coalition Brown Divest helped convince a university committee to vote in favor of divesting from companies that "facilitate the [Israeli] occupation and its human rights abuses in the West Bank and Gaza." (Photo: Brown Divest)

Brown University took a step toward divesting from companies that are complicit in human rights abuses against Palestinians, after an advisory committee Tuesday voted in agreement with students who have spent months demanding the move.

The university's Advisory Committee on Corporate Responsibility in Investment Policies (ACCRIP) voted to recommend that the university withdraw support for companies that are "facilitating the [Israeli] occupation and its human rights abuses in the West Bank and Gaza."

The vote—with six members in favor, two opposing, and one abstaining—came eight months after nearly 70 percent of Brown student voters supported a referendum to divest from several companies including Hewlett-Packard, Motorola, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon.

More than 100 faculty members also expressed their support for the referendum at the time. 

The human rights organization Jewish Voice for Peace, congratulated Brown University Divest, the coalition of students which led the campaign for divestment. 

"As Jews, as U.S. citizens, as Brown students, and as people of conscience, it is our responsibility to speak up for Palestinian human rights and to denounce complicity in Palestinian suffering," said Tal Frieden, a member of both organizations. "We will continue to hold the University accountable to this vote."

Students at Swarthmore, NYU, UCLA, and George Washington University have also recently campaigned to pressure their schools to divest from companies which profit from the occupation through their work in Israel.

"We are elated that the University committee responsible for [recommending] divestment has finally joined the calls for divestment from human rights violations in Palestine," said Brown Divest. "We look forward to other universities joining the movement for dignity and human rights for Palestinians."

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