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, 2021

Attack Types: Imprisonment

Institution(s):University Agostinho Neto

Region & Country:Central Africa | Angola

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On February 22, 2021, police arrested a number of students during a demonstration at University Agostinho Neto (UAN) over a hike in enrollment fees.

On May 4, 2020, President João Lourenço issued Presidential Decree No. 124/20, establishing the fee increase for the 2021 academic year. Several universities reportedly applied the increase immediately, nearly quadrupling tuition overnight.

On February 22, students gathered at UAN to peacefully demonstrate against the increase in university fees and the low passing rate of students. Police reportedly arrested at least five students.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the arbitrary detention of students peacefully exercising 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 Angola is a party. State authorities have an obligation to refrain from restricting or retaliating against the peaceful exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and assembly so long as they are exercised responsibly. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, detentions in response to peaceful student expression undermine academic freedom and democratic society generally.