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: May 26, 2022

Attack Types: Imprisonment

Institution(s):Munzur University

Region & Country:Western Asia | Turkey

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On May 26, 2022, Turkish police detained 11 Munzer University students peacefully protesting the establishment of a so-called “Youth Center,” which is affiliated with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), on campus.

Sources indicate that students chanted slogans and performed a dance in protest of the Youth Center presence on the campus. After the students began a sit-in on campus, police intervened, dragging 11 of the students away and arresting them.

Scholars at Risk is concerned by the arbitrary detention of students in an apparent effort to restrict their peaceful, on-campus 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 Turkey is a party. State authorities have an obligation to refrain from restricting or retaliating against the nonviolent and responsible exercise of such rights. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, detentions aimed at restricting students’ on-campus, expressive activities undermine academic freedom and democratic society generally.