Between October 9-18, 2022, the Taliban-run Ministry of Higher Education ordered the evictions of dozens of woman students from the dormitory of Kabul University in apparent retaliation for their alleged participation in protests.
The ministry claimed that several students were evicted for allegedly violating unspecified university regulations; however, sources reported between 40 and 60 students were evicted following protests against a deadly attack on the Kaaj Educational Center, which left 53 dead and 110 injured, mostly young Hazara women and girls (see report). Hasht-e Subh Daily quoted students who claimed that they were further threatened with expulsion from the university if they failed to vacate their dorm in one day or if they spoke to the media or other students about what had occurred.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about arbitrary disciplinary actions against students, in apparent retaliation for their alleged nonviolent exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly – conduct which is protected by international human rights instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Afghanistan is a party. Governing authorities and university leadership have an obligation to refrain from such disciplinary actions. In addition to harm to the immediate victim, arbitrary disciplinary actions against students in connection with expressive activity undermine academic freedom, institutional autonomy, and democratic society generally.