NEAR Newsletter June 2005
Welcome to the NEAR Newsletter. In this edition you will find our most recent Action Alerts and also an ‘Academic Freedom in the Media’ section, listing news by country (June 2005). Any comments and suggestions about the content and layout of the newsletter will be gratefully received at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NEAR Action Alerts *Taken from the NEAR website
Professor Kenneth Good, an Australian citizen and Professor in the Department of Political and Administrative Studies at the University of Botswana, has been deported from Botswana, the Council for Assisting Refugee Academics informs. The country’s President, Festus Mogae, declared Professor Good an unwanted immigrant in February after he criticised the government during a lecture.
NEAR has been informed by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) of the acquittal of seven Malaysian students (known as the ISA7) who were charged with illegal assembly on 8 June 2001. BACKGROUND INFORMATION: The seven students in 2003 when they were charged with illegal assembly and then suspended from their university studies for their participation in a demonstration on 8 June 2001 (Please see related NEAR Alerts).
Serious concerns have been raised by Amnesty International on the large numbers of demonstrating students that have been detained in Ethiopia following two days of protests on 6 June 2005. One female student was killed. The demonstrations followed the announcement of provisional results from the parliamentary elections held 15 May 2005 by the National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE).
Human Rights Watch (HRW)has issued a report underlining that the Egyptian government stifles academic freedom in universities by censoring course books, outlawing research about controversial issues and intimidating student activists. Furthermore the authorities also fail to protect citizens from Islamist militants who publicly attack professors and students.
The IFEX Tunisian Monitoring Group (TMG) members welcomed the announcement of Tunisia’s President Ben Ali on 27 May 2005 to abolish the legal submission procedure (and related sanctions) applicable to the press. However, the organisation’s members remain concerned that the Tunisian legal submission system continues to be used as an indirect form of censorship for other media, in particular books.
In April 2005 Abdulla Jamall, a teacher belonging to the Uighur Ethnicity in China, was arrested for writing a book which the authorities accuse of inciting "separatism". His whereabouts are unknown, and he is at high risk of torture and ill-treatment, Amnesty International suspects him to be a prisoner of conscience.
A student, nineteen year old Abrahim Rahimi, of the Canterbury Christ Church University College faces deportation in Afghanistan where he will be in grave danger. Another first year business student, Safiq Rafiqi, has been arrested and released today. The Home Office is, at the moment, reviewing Abrahim’s case.
Students of of Jadavpur University, West Bengal, India have reportedly been attacked by police during a protest on 11 June 2005. The students, belonging to the Faculty of Engineering and Technology Students Union (FETSU), Jadavpur University where protesting against the suspension of five of their colleagues.
** Please continue to send us any relevant cases involving threats to academic freedom and education rights, for potential alerts.
The Network for Education and Academic Rights (NEAR) is a membership-based, non-governmental organisation which facilitates international collaboration between organisations active in issues of academic freedom and educational rights, and committed to promoting an understanding of, and respect for, the values enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
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