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: August 10, 2021

Attack Types: Imprisonment

Institution(s):Tribhuvan University

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Nepal

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On August 10, 2021, police detained at least six Tribhuvan University students in their effort to shut down a protest over the university’s decision to hold in-person exams during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dozens of students reportedly chanted slogans and demonstrated on the university’s Padma Kanya campus when police intervened and detained the students.

A police official told The Kathmandu Post that they detained the students in order to prevent disruption to ongoing exams. Available sources do not indicate the students were being disruptive. Police released the students later that day.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the detention of students to restrict their 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 Nepal is a party. State authorities have a responsibility to refrain from restricting the nonviolent and responsible exercise of such rights. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, detentions aimed at restricting non-violent student expression undermine academic freedom and democratic society generally.

*SAR identified this incident in data made publicly available by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED).