Posts Tagged ‘Academic freedom’

Europe also sees shrinking space for human rights defenders

April 4, 2017

On 4 April 2017 Nils Muižnieks, the Council of Europe’s Human Rights Commissioner, wrote about “The Shrinking Space for Human Rights Organisations“. The new EU ‘alert site I referred to yesterday [see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2017/04/03/protectdefenders-eu-launches-new-alert-website-but-no-single-stop-yet/] showed in 2016 some 86 reported violations in the European (and Central Asian) region, mostly detention and judicial harassment. Also the recent CIVICUS findings of the narrowing space for civil society points in this direction. An example could be Hungary as illustrated by reports of Human Rights Watch (2016), Human Rights First (2017) and Amnesty International (2016/17); the issue of academic freedom is not directly related but part of the restrictive trend [see links below].

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Scholars at Risk gives its “Courage to Think Defender Award” to Egypt’s detained scholars and students

June 9, 2016

Today, 9 June 2016, Egypt‘s wrongfully detained scholars and students received the 2016 Courage to Think Defender Award during the SAR Global Congress in Montreal, Canada. This is in recognition for their commitment to exercising the right to think, share and question ideas despite tremendous risks. SAR selected student representatives to accept the award in order to recognize their efforts to conduct research and advocacy on behalf of threatened scholars and students around the world. “The students are vital to raising awareness around cases of imprisoned scholars and students like these, and to promoting academic freedom globally and locally,” said Clare Robinson, Advocacy Director at SAR.

Over the past several years, SAR has observed an overwhelming crackdown on Egypt’s higher education community, including the reported use of violence, wrongful prosecutions and imprisonment, professional retaliation and travel restrictions against scholars and students across the country. According to data obtained by the Egyptian NGO, Association for Free Thought and Expression, over 2,000 university students and professors have been detained by security forces since July 2013.

SAR has presented the award only twice before, in 2011 to Aryeh Neier for his long career dedicated to free inquiry and expression including as the chair of the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch and the Open Society Foundations, and in 2015 to Dean Habib Kazdaghli of Manouba University in Tunisia for defending his university from extremist pressures after the Arab Spring, including in the face of prosecution and death threats.

[Scholars at Risk: Scholars at Risk (SAR) is an international network of higher education institutions and individuals working to protect threatened scholars, promote academic freedom and prevent attacks on higher education communities around the world since 2000. SAR protects scholars suffering grave threats to their lives, liberty and well-being by arranging positions of sanctuary for those forced to flee, and advocating for scholars facing prosecution, imprisonment or other restrictions through the Scholars-in-Prison Project. SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project identifies and reports attacks on higher education to protect vulnerable scholars and students, hold perpetrators accountable and prevent future violations. Institutions or individuals interested in learning more about SAR and its activities should visit http://www.scholarsatrisk.org or email scholarsatrisk@nyu.edu]

see also: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2015/06/23/scholars-at-risk-publishes-first-academic-freedom-monitoring-report-free2think/

Academic Freedom monitored by Scholars at Risk which celebrates its 15th anniversary in Montreal

May 27, 2016

Attacks on higher education threaten the safety and well-being of scholars, administrators, staff and students; undermine academic work and instruction; and deny everyone the benefits of expert knowledge and scientific and creative progress. Too often such attacks go unreported. Scholars at Risk (SAR) publishes an Academic Freedom Monitor which tracks key attacks with the aims of protecting vulnerable individuals, promoting accountability and preventing future violations. In the period February – April 2016  SAR reports 20 incidents:

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Scholars at Risk publishes first Academic Freedom Monitoring Report: Free2Think

June 23, 2015

SAR Free to Think report

“Attacks on higher education are at crisis levels”

Today, 23 June 2015, Scholars at Risk [SAR] released the first report of its Academic Freedom Monitoring Project at the United Nations in Geneva,: “Free to Think”. The culmination of four years of monitoring and analysis by SAR staff and researchers around the world, the report analyzes 333 attacks on higher education communities in 65 countries from January 2011 to May 2015, demonstrating the pressing need to raise awareness and document attacks on higher education: Read the rest of this entry »

Student human rights defenders under pressure in Myanmar/Burma

April 27, 2015

Since November 2014, student organizations including the All Burma Federation of Student Union (ABFSU) have been protesting against the National Education Bill, which student activists claim restricts academic freedom. Enacted by Parliament on 30 September 2014, the National Education Law was intended to reform the country’s education system, but the ABFSU claim the government did not seek adequate student input in its formation. The new restrictions outlaw independent student and teacher unions, and erase ethnic languages, cultures and literatures from university syllabi.

Students opposed to the National Education Law staged a peaceful protest in Letpadan on 10 March 2015. Police responded violently to the movement. They arrested approximately 126 students, including student leaders Po Po, Nanda Sitt Aung and Phyo Phyo Aung. Three others, Myat Thu Aung, Kyaw Ko Ko (the Chairman) and Ye Yint Kyaw (spokesperson), managed to escape in March, but today they face criminal charges of unlawful assembly, rioting, incitement, and causing harm to a public servant. The charges carry penalties of up to three years in prison. Robert San Aung, who leads the Myanmar Lawyers’ Network team and is one the 3 Final Nominees of the MEA this year, said he believes the Court would not begin hearing the charges against those students currently detained, until police had apprehended those still in hiding.

The ABFSU is a student union with a long tradition and as far back as 2001 it won the Norwegian Student Peace Prize.

Myanmar/Burma – Student human rights defenders Myat Thu Aung, Kyaw Ko Ko and Ye Yint Kyaw facing charges | Front Line Defenders.

Submissions on Academic Freedom invited by Scholars at Risk – deadline 11 November

September 26, 2013

university valuesThe Scholars at Risk Network invites submissions for the Winter 2013 edition of University Values: a global bulletin on academic freedom, and the first of its kind around the world. Previous editions of the bulletin can be viewed at: http://www.scholarsatrisk.nyu.edu/Workshop/bulletin.php

University Values is an electronic bulletin featuring articles, essays, opinion pieces and announcements promoting discussion and understanding of university values, including values of access, accountability, academic freedom, autonomy and social responsibility.
Submission Requirements
Length: short articles of 500-700 words maximum.
Topic: on an academic freedom related issue of your choice. The article could, alternatively, contain news on important events, situations emerging in your region or specific countries or urgent appeals for scholars or universities in distress.
Deadline: November 11, 2013.
Contact: submit articles by email to scholarsatrisk@nyu.edu. Enter “University Values Submission” in the subject line of your email.
The University Values Editing Committee will select up to six articles for publication in the bulletin.  For more information about Scholars at Risk visit http://scholarsatrisk.nyu.edu.