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: January 23, 2023

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Various Universities

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Bangladesh

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On January 23, 2023, police forcibly dispersed more than a dozen students who were staging a protest in front of the National Press Club in Dhaka demanding a second opportunity to take the admissions test for public universities. At least a dozen students were injured.

Police reportedly charged the students with batons after first asking them to disperse and leave the road open to traffic. The students refused. According to media reports, between three and five of the injured students were admitted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital for treatment.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about reports of police forcibly disrupting an apparently peaceful student protest. While state authorities have the right to take reasonable measures to ensure order, they must also exercise restraint and refrain from disproportionate actions, actions that may result in unnecessary harm, and or actions which encroach on the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly – conduct which 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 Bangladesh is a party. In addition to harm to the immediate victims, such use of violence undermines academic freedom, institutional autonomy, and democratic society generally.

*SAR identified this incident in data made publicly available by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED)প্রেস-ক্লাবের-সামনে-শিক্ষার্থীদের-কর্মসূচিতে-পুলিশের-লাঠিচার্জ