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: October 30, 2019

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Dhamar University

Region & Country:Western Asia | Yemen

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On October 30, a booby-trapped car of unknown origin reportedly exploded outside Dhamar University as a graduation ceremony was taking place.

The attack occurred amidst the ongoing war in Yemen between the Houthis, Yemeni state-backed armed groups fighting on behalf of the country’s internationally-recognized President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, the Southern Transitional Council (which is backed by the UAE), and a coalition of military forces led by Saudi Arabia (the so-called Saudi-led Coalition, or “SLC”).

Few details are available about the October 30 attack. Available sources noted that a number of prominent Houthi leaders were in attendance at the ceremony at the time of the attack. No casualties were reported. Houthi soldiers reportedly closed off the university following the attack.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about an attack on a higher education institution amidst armed conflict. All parties to armed conflict must take steps to ensure that higher education institutions are protected from attack and to refrain from using the same for military purposes. Responsible state authorities should investigate violent attacks on higher education communities and hold perpetrators accountable. In addition to the harm such attacks pose to higher education communities, they further undermine academic freedom, institutional autonomy, and democratic society generally.