US offers haven for refugee scholars

六月 9, 2000

An academic fired by the University of Belgrade has spoken out about his shame in an open protest against the oppressive climate in Serbia.

A letter from chemical engineer Obrad Savic was to be read by Jonathan Fanton, co-chair of the Human Rights Watch academic freedom committee, at the Chicago launch today of an initiative to offer a haven to refugee academics at United States universities.

Professor Fanton said the letter exemplified the case for the Scholars at Risk network, organised by the University of Chicago human rights programme.

"The open letter puts Professor Savic in harm's way. Wouldn't it be good if we could quickly offer him a visiting professorship for a few months?" he asked.

Professor Savic's letter read: "I am addressing this letter to you, hoping that a voice of revolt from shameful Belgrade will reach you.

"I am ashamed of addressing you from the country of terror and fear, the state where parliamentary life, media and university have been suffocated, the state where pensioners, workers and citizens are being beaten.

"I am ashamed of the state which mobilises paramilitary formations to oppress students in the university halls and classrooms. I am ashamed of the state that fears and arrests its rebellious youth, organised as the 'people's resistance' movement. I am ashamed of our democratic political opposition, which has wasted the trust of its citizens."

Serbia's university law has been a central HRW campaign, culminating in the 1998 refusal by Belgrade to grant Professor Fanton a visa when he tried to visit the country to protest at restrictions on academic freedom.

Professor Fanton said: "Courageous intellectuals are often the first targets of anti-democratic crackdowns. Some give their lives in defence of free expression, others languish in jail and some escape to work in exile against repressive regimes at home."

While there had been "noble moments" when the academic community rallied to help colleagues, a permanent network of support had been missing.

Other speakers were Yuri Orlov, a Cornell physicist imprisoned for human rights activities in the former Soviet Union who emigrated to the US in 1976; Yongyi Song, a China expert at Dickinson College who was released in January 2000 after being detained; Sergey Piontkovki, a marine biologist who faced false charges in Ukraine until fleeing in March; and Sowore Omoleye, a Nigerian student leader who fled in 1995 after alleging he was tortured for pro-democracy activities.

http://scholarsatrisk.uchicago.edu

Please login or register to read this article.

请先注册再进行下一步

获得一个月的无限制地在线阅读网站内容。只需注册并完成您的职业简介.

注册是免费的,而且非常简单。一旦成功注册,您可以每个月免费阅读3篇文章。:

  • 获得编辑推荐文章
  • 率先获得泰晤士高等教育世界大学排名相关的新闻
  • 获得职位推荐、筛选工作和保存工作搜索结果
  • 参与读者讨论和公布评论
注册

欢迎反馈

Log in or register to post comments