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: September 04, 2019

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances | Imprisonment

Institution(s):University of Cundinamarca

Region & Country:Americas | Colombia

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On September 4, 2019, riot police reportedly entered the University of Cundinamarca and violently clashed with and detained students protesting the university administration.

Students reportedly gathered on campus to peacefully demonstrate against the re-election of the university rector, who they claim will defund the university. Soon after, as many as one hundred riot police reportedly entered the campus, apparently in pursuit of several unidentified, hooded men. Riot police reportedly began indiscriminately using force against student protesters, including using batons to beat students, launching tear gas, and firing live ammunition into the air. Police briefly detained twenty students. At least twelve students were reportedly injured as a result of the police action, including one who was struck by a police bullet.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the use of violence against and detentions of students in connection to the nonviolent exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly — conduct that is expressly protected by international human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Colombia is a party. The use of violence and detentions to restrict peaceful student expression undermines academic freedom, institutional autonomy, and democratic society generally.