SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: February 22, 2013

Attack Types: Travel Restrictions

Institution(s):London School of Economics

Region & Country:Western Asia | United Arab Emirates

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On February 22, Dr. Kristian Ulrichsen of the London School of Economics (LSE) was denied entrance into the United Arab Emirates. Dr. Ulrichsen was originally scheduled to present on the uprising in Bahrain at a conference, titled “The New Middle East: Transition in the Arab World.”
LSE, which co-organized the conference with the American University of Sharjah, pulled out at the last minute when the Emirati authorities insisted that Dr. Ulrichsen’s presentation be removed from the program.  Despite this, Dr. Ulrichsen who was also scheduled to speak at Zayed University, also in the Emirates, decided to travel. However, upon arrival at the Dubai airport, Dr. Ulrichsen was denied entry into the country. A security official at the airport reportedly informed Dr. Ulrichsen that his name appeared on a blacklist barring him from entrance to the UAE. The Emirati Foreign Ministry released a written statement explaining that the decision was related to Dr. Ulrichsen’s “views delegitimizing the Bahraini monarchy”, which they considered “unhelpful”.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about the denial of entry to a scholar in apparent retaliation for nonviolent expressive activity which is protected under international human rights instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. While States have the authority to regulate entry into their territories, denying entry based on the content of nonviolent professional expression would violate academic freedom and State obligations under international law.