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, 2016

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances | Other

Institution(s):University of Swaziland

Region & Country:Southern Africa | Eswatini

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On February 22, 2016, riot police reportedly drove a vehicle into a crowd of student protesters students on the campus of the University of Swaziland (UNISWA), causing the crowd to scatter and severely injuring at least one student.

Earlier in the day on February 22, student groups had submitted a list of demands to the university administration relating to the university’s registration deadline and student allowances.  When the groups’ demands were not met, they called for a boycott of classes, leading to non-violent, on-campus protests throughout the day.  Police reportedly entered the campus that evening.  Around 11:00 pm, a police vehicle reportedly drove at a high speed toward a large group of protesters.  According to reports, one student was severely injured in the incident.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about violence on university campuses. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, such incidents have a chilling effect on academic freedom and freedom of expression. State authorities have a responsibility to ensure the security of academic communities, to prevent future attacks, and to hold perpetrators of violent attacks accountable.