SAR-Ireland

SAR Ireland’s Statement on the Situation of Students and Scholars in Iran

The Irish section of the Scholars at Risk Network (SAR Ireland) is deeply concerned by
violations of the human rights of students and staff currently occuring at Iranian
universities, higher education institutions, and secondary schools.

Demonstrations against the Iranian regime started after the 22 year old Mahsa Jina
Amini, who had been detained by the state ‘morality police’ over an alleged violation
of Iran’s restrictive hijab laws, died in custody on September 16. For the past seven
weeks thousands of Iranians across the country have taken to the streets using the
slogan, “Woman, Life, Freedom”, to protest Mahsa Amini’s death and to demand an
end to systematic violations of human rights in Iran, including the right to academic
freedom.
According to the Oslo-based organisation Iran Human Rights on 29 October
“students in more than 50 universities and higher education institutions in cities
including Sanandaj, Tehran, Mashhad, Urmia, Kerman, Kashan, Zahedan, Rafsanjan,
Qazvin, Bandar Abbas, Karaj, Ahvaz, Babol, Shiraz, Marivan, Isfahan, Yazd, Khorram
Abad, Rasht, Qom and Shahroud staged peaceful protests.” These peaceful protests
were met with extreme violence.
Over the past seven weeks Iranian security forces have used live ammunition on
unarmed protestors, killing more than 270 people including 40 children. Up to
13,000 people have been reported arrested and detained across the country; this
includes at least 307 individuals identified as students. The attacks have also
extended to university dormitories where tear gas and live ammunition have been
used.

The unjustified use of force, including killing, beating, and the arrests of students and
scholars are clear violations of the fundamental rights to freedom of speech and
assembly, of the right to education and teaching, and of academic freedom. In
solidarity with scholars and students, education unions, and civic organisation, we
condemn the brutality with which the Iranian government forces have responded to
peaceful protests and call for all political prisoners, including students, staff, and
faculty members, to be freed.

SAR Ireland is strongly committed to protecting the fundamental rights of students
and scholars, including the right to free expression, participation in the life of
universities, and peaceful protests. We are also deeply concerned about the
violations of these rights for university students and staff in Iran and particularly for
the fate of the detained students and scholars and request their immediate release.
We reiterate the call by the wider SAR Network to demand accountability, and invite
colleagues across the higher education sector to continue to flag attacks on the
Iranian higher education community for review and consideration in SAR’s Academic
Freedom Monitoring Project. This can be done by directing reports of attacks to
sarmonitoring@nyu.edu. We also invite colleagues at higher education institutions
in Ireland to continue to raise awareness on the situation in Iran within the national
context of Ireland, as well as locally on university campuses. Such support could be
shown through social media campaigns, media outreach, and public events to
demonstrate solidarity with our colleagues in Iran.

We anticipate and support a future in Iran when human rights will be protected and
when academic freedom will be more fully realised through freedom of association
and speech, the de-securitization of universities, the preservation of university
autonomy, and the promotion of critical and participatory modes of education and
knowledge production.

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