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Academic Freedom

We support a request for leave to submit written comments by way of a third-party intervention (TPI) before the European Court of Human Rights in the cases of Kamuran Akin v. Turkey and 42 other applications (Application nos. 72796/1672798/16, 72799/16 et al.) (see here). The cases concern the dismissal of 81 academics from their universities, on the basis that they signed, in January 2016, a statement entitled “We will not be a party to this crime,” criticising the Turkish Government’s violations of human rights in the Kurdish south-east Turkey. The applicants were among around 400 academic who were dismissed for their endorsement of the same statement and were subject to several administrative, disciplinary, and criminal proceedings. The issue of academic freedom, and its relevance to the interpretation and application of the European Convention of Human Rights is therefore at the heart of the present cases (see also here).

We also support and take part in a Seminar on Academic Freedom (Copenhagen 29 October 2021). The seminar zooms in on various challenges and threats to academic freedom and discusses how best to deal with them. Also in Denmark researchers have been named and shamed by members of parliament, taken to court by private lobby organizations, and/or been personally threatened on social media. Likewise, academic freedom is currently under pressure internally, within the academic environment itself. The seminar is jointly organised by the Federation of Professional Associations (Akademikerne), The Committee for The Protection of Scientific and Scholarly Work (UBVA), The Danish Association of Masters and PhDs (DM), The Young Academy under The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters and the Danish National Commission for UNESCO (see also here and here).

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