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: April 26, 2022

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Alassane Ouattara University

Region & Country:Western Africa | Côte d'Ivoire

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On April 26, 2022, clashes broke out between police and students on strike from Alassane Ouattara University, resulting in several student injuries and 22 arrests.

The students were on strike protesting study conditions and demanding examination locations closer to the university. It is not clear under what exact circumstances clashes broke out between police and protesters. Sources indicate that police deployed tear gas, while some students threw stones at police. Students claimed that police raided student dormitories; images show some broken windows in student dormitories. Police did not report their grounds for arresting students.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the use of force by police in an apparent effort to restrict students’ nonviolent exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly on campus — 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 Côte d’Ivoire is a party. While state authorities have a responsibility to maintain order and safety, they also have a responsibility to refrain from restricting nonviolent expressive activity and using disproportionate force. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, such incidents undermine academic freedom and democratic society generally.