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: March 16, 2022

Attack Types: Imprisonment

Institution(s):University of Zimbabwe

Region & Country:Eastern Africa | Zimbabwe

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On March 16, 2022, police arrested 10 University of Zimbabwe (UZ) students peacefully protesting on campus.

Students were protesting an increase in tuition and on-campus accommodation fees. According to reports, police were stationed on campus before students began their protest and arrested the students shortly after they came out of their on-campus accommodations carrying posters and chanting slogans. The students were taken to a local police station, though it remains unclear whether the students were charged with a crime.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the arbitrary detention of students peacefully exercising their 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 Zimbabwe is a party. State authorities have an obligation to refrain from restricting or retaliating against the exercise of the right to free expression and association, so long as it is peaceful and responsible. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, detaining students for peaceful on-campus expression undermines academic freedom and democratic society generally.