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Free to Think 2022

Free to Think 2022Free to Think 2022

The new Free to Think-report from Scholars at Risk draws a disturbing picture of attacks against higher education. The report analyses 391 attacks in 65 countries and territories, taking place between September 1, 2021 and August 31, 2022.

These attacks also affects me and you, as they deprive our societies of knowledge and solutions to issues that affect us all”, said Hector Ulloa, president of SAIH.

The report states that the incidents it analyses represent only a fraction of all attacks on higher education that have occurred. Over the past year, Scholars at Risk have seen increasing numbers of scholars and students seeking help.

This is something we sadly have seen also in SAIH when working with this year's nomination process for the Norwegian protection program Students at Risk”, said Ulloa.

Attacks on student expression most frequent

Attacks on student expression remain the most frequent type of attack reported by the Academic Freedom Monitoring Project, comprising roughly 41% of this year’s incidents” the reports states.

In addition, attacks related to armed conflicts in Ukraine, Afghanistan, Myanmar and Ethiopia, as well as violent attacks in the form of terrorist attacks or threats of armed attacks in Nigeria, Pakistan and USA, are highlighted.

Students are often among the first to raise their voices as societies are moving in the wrong direction. We have seen it so many times, and we see it

V-Dem Institute 70% of the world's population now live in autocracies, many of them dictatorships.

"This development shows us the importance of protecting student activists and scholars. States have to be very clear in their protection of academic freedom and condemnation of attacks against it. And students and scholars must show solidarity. We cannot allow attacks on academic freedom to become the new normal", said Ulloa.

The full report from Scholars at Risk can be found here.

In 2021, SAIH launched this report showing how authoritarian leaders criminalise student dissent and protest.

In the campaign The D**ktators SAIH sheds light on the authoritarian development through handing out condoms with the slogan “Protecting students against d**ktators and other diseases”.

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