A new report is sounding the alarm about attacks made against students, professors, and higher education communities around the world. Published by Scholars at Risk, an organization dedicated to protecting academic freedom and the rights of higher education communities, the report documents 333 attacks against universities, students, and professors.
The attacks range from travel restrictions to imprisonment to outright killings. Flashpoints include the attacks made by Boko Haram in Nigeria; in Kenya by Al Shabaab, and in Mexico allegedly by the Guerreros Unidos narcotics gang. While these are the most violent examples, higher education communities around the world are being attacked by both state and non-state actors.
Scholars at Risk are calling on international and state actors, the higher education sector, and civil society to:
- Demand recognition of the problem of attacks on higher education
- Assist states in reviewing national laws and policies
- Abstain from direct or indirect involvement in attacks
- Take all reasonable measures to provide adequate security for the members of higher education communities
- Document and report incidents to appropriate state authorities, civil society partners, or the international community
- Develop policies and practices which reinforce a culture of respect for principles of academic freedom and institutional autonomy.
OCUFA is pleased to endorse these recommendations, and is exploring ways of working with its local, national, and international partners to help protect higher education communities around the world.