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: October 17, 2022

Attack Types: Imprisonment | Prosecution

Institution(s):Great Zimbabwe University

Region & Country:Eastern Africa | Zimbabwe

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On October 17, 2022, police arrested six students participating in a demonstration over fee hikes at Great Zimbabwe University.

The students were reportedly on their way to deliver a petition to the Vice Chancellor when police arrested them and charged them with “criminal nuisance.” Upon release, three students were given a fine of 2,000 ZWL (roughly $6 USD).

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the arrest of students peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and 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 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, arresting students for peaceful on-campus expression undermines academic freedom and democratic society generally.

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