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: November 26, 2023

Attack Types: Other

Institution(s):University of Sittwe

Region & Country:Southeastern Asia | Myanmar (Burma)

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On November 26, 2023, approximately 30 troops from the Myanmar junta army and police forces were stationed at the University of Sittwe’s graduation hall.

It is unclear why the soldiers were stationed at the University of Sittwe, however, the deployment took place during a lockdown in the state of Rakhine – where the university is located – due to ongoing fighting in the region. According to reports, locals shared concerns about fighting and fear about attending the institution. Some of the university’s staff members living on campus chose to relocate following the arrival of the troops.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the military occupation of university facilities. Parties to a conflict must refrain from using higher education facilities for military purposes during active conflict. The occupation of higher education infrastructure during active conflict undermines academic freedom, institutional autonomy, and democratic governance generally.

Sources:
*SAR identified this incident in data made publicly available by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED)
https://burmese.narinjara.com/news/detail/65633a28ed73d42fdf2405b7
https://burmese.thanlwintimes.com/2023/11/28/မြို့ပေါ်စာသင်ကျောင်းတ/
https://www.rfa.org/burmese/program_2/rakhine-battle-junta-11202023044657.html