Advocacy Insider October 2021

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Δημοσίευση: 21-10-2021 23:39 | Προβολές: 199

SAR calls on UN states to demand that Hungary implement protections for academic freedom

On October 7, Scholars at Risk’s Senior Advocacy Officer Jesse Levine addressed the United Nations’ Universal Periodic Review of Hungary regarding issues related to the academic freedom and institutional autonomy of universities in the country. SAR’s submission highlighted the closure of Central European University’s main campus in Budapest, laws that have placed most public academic institutions under the control of the foundations run, with little political oversight, by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s political allies, and a government decree that eliminated gender studies programs at Hungarian universities.

In a closing statement about Prime Minister Orbán’s government, SAR called on UN states to demand that Hungary implement concrete protections for academic freedom and university autonomy, consistent with well-established international human rights standards.

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Egypt: Drop charges and immediately release Patrick George Zaki

Scholars at Risk sent a letter to Egyptian authorities raising concern over the recent indictment against Patrick George Zaki, a postgraduate student of gender studies at the University of Bologna, Italy. On February 7, 2020, the Egyptian National Security Agency arrested Mr. Zaki at Cairo International Airport, interrogated him about his human rights work, and took him to an undisclosed location where he was allegedly subjected to torture. After 19 months in pretrial detention, on September 13, 2021, the State Security Supreme Prosecution indicted Mr. Zaki with a charge of “spreading false news inside and outside of the country,” based on an article Mr. Zaki wrote about his experiences as a Coptic Egyptian. If convicted, Mr. Zaki faces up to five years in prison and would be stripped of his right to appeal. SAR calls on Egyptian authorities to secure his immediate release and drop any charges against him.

Read the letter »Take action »
Take more action through SAR's Scholars-in-Prison ProjectStudent Advocacy Seminars, and Legal Clinics.

SAR invites you to save Thursday, December 9, 2021 for an event marking the release of Free to Think 2021, the annual report of SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project, and the presentation of SAR’s annual Courage to Think Award. The virtual event will bring together experts for conversations about concerning trends in higher education communities around the world to raise awareness and urge diverse state and non-state actors to join us in protecting and promoting academic freedom.

Attacks on Higher Education

MEXICO: Police forcibly remove protesting students
Autonomous University of Puebla, Mexico, 8/28
Police forcibly removed students sleeping in tents during a sit-in protest near Casa Aguayo, a state government building.
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CHINA: Authorities detain PhD candidate
University of Hong Kong, China, 8/26
Authorities detained Fang Ran, a PhD candidate in the sociology department of the University of Hong Kong, and accused him of incitement to subvert state power.
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PAKISTAN: Student political group attacks other student group at university
Punjab University, Pakistan, 8/26
Alleged members of the Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba, the student wing of the Islamist political party Jamaat-e-Islami, reportedly attacked students holding a “study group” on the rise of the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan.
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COLOMBIA: Student activist shot and killed
University of Cauca, Colombia, 8/24
Esteban Mosquera, a well-known student-activist and a student-journalist from the University of Cauca, was shot and killed.
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BRAZIL: Police attack protesting students
Various, Brazil, 8/21
Military police reportedly attacked higher education and high school students holding a protest during the Minister of Education’s visit to the city of Odessa.
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AFGHANISTAN: Soldiers bar women from campus
Herat University, Afghanistan, 8/17
Taliban soldiers stationed at the gates of Herat University prevented female students and professors from entering campus.
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COLOMBIA: Group vandalizes university
University of Antioquia, Colombia, 8/17
A group unidentified, masked individuals threatened security guards and raided and vandalized the University of Antioquia campus.
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NIGERIA: Gunmen raid college, kill and kidnap students and staff
Zamfara College of Agriculture and Animal Science, Nigeria, 8/16
A group of unidentified gunmen invaded the Zamfara College of Agriculture and Animal Science, killing four people and kidnapping 15 students and 4 staff members.
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NEPAL: Police detain protesting students
Tribhuvan University, Nepal, 8/10
Police detained at least six Tribhuvan University students in their effort to shut down a protest over the university’s decision to hold in-person exams during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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INDONESIA: Police attack protesting students
Cenderawasih University, Indonesia, 8/10
Police arrested 14 students protesting on the Cenderawasih University campus. Students gathered on the campus to demand the release of a political activist.
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THAILAND: Police arrest student activists
Thammasat University, Thailand, 8/8
Thammasat University student activists Parit Chiwarak, Nutchanon Pairoj, and Sirichai Natueng were arrested in connection with their participation in a peaceful protest.
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SRI LANKA: Police attack protesting students
Various, Sri Lanka, 8/6
Police arrested five student leaders in apparent retaliation for their participation in an August 3 protest over a controversial bill concerning the management of General Sir John Kotelawala National Defense University.
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Learn more about SAR's Academic Freedom Monitoring Project, which identifies and tracks attacks on higher education communities in order to protect vulnerable individuals, promote accountability, and prevent future attacks.

Academic Freedom in the News
CHINA / UNITED STATES: Amid U.S.-China Chill, Harvard Moves a Top Language Program to Taiwan
Amy Qin, The New York Times, 10/13
Harvard University announced it is moving a Chinese-language program from Beijing, at the Beijing Language and Culture University, to Taipei. The move comes amid a broad chill in academic and cultural exchanges between the United States and China.
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IRAN / SWEDEN: Ahmadreza Djalali – 2000 Days in the Iranian Prison
Committee of Concerned Scientists, 10/11
October 17 will mark 2,000 days since Swedish-Iranian Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali was imprisoned in Tehran. While on a research visit to Iran in 2016, Djalali was detained and tortured until confessing under duress to conspiring in the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists. In 2017, the Iranian Revolutionary Court sentenced Djalali to death.
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MEXICO: We Finally Know How 43 Students on a Bus Vanished Into Thin Air
Jeremy Kryt, The Daily Beast, 10/10
Text messages between a crime boss and a deputy police chief in Mexico indicated that the police and drug cartel worked together to capture 43 students who went missing from a bus in September 2014. The students had organized buses to take them to a protest in Mexico City when they went missing.
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HONG KONG: University student union disbands amid civil society meltdown
Mimi Leung, University World News, 10/7
The Chinese University of Hong Kong Student Union announced that it was dissolving, citing increasing problems since the university administration cut ties with the student body in February 2021. The student union is the second to dissolve in Hong Kong following the implementation of China’s National Security Law.
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Sign up for SAR's Academic Freedom Media Review, a weekly digest of news, essays, and other media pertaining to academic freedom and higher education communities around the world.