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: February 22, 2023

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Cyprus University of Technology

Region & Country:Western Asia | Cyprus

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On February 22, 2023, a group of at least eight hooded individuals attacked students holding an informational meeting on sexual orientation at Cyprus University of Technology (CUT).

The student union FETEPAK and ACCEPT-LGBTI Cyprus held a Rainbow Meeting on sexual orientation at CUT. The hooded individuals stormed the room, used a fire extinguisher to spray students, shouted homophobic slurs, and physically assaulted students. One student was reportedly hospitalized after being punched in the face.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about a targeted violent attack on a student event in an apparent attempt to restrict the right to freedom of expression and freedom of association – conduct which is expressly protected under international human rights instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Cyprus is a party. State and university authorities must take reasonable measures to ensure safe conditions for students to engage on campus. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, violent attacks on campus undermine academic freedom and democratic society generally.

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