GUNi supports Scholars At Risk’s urgent appeal to take action for Afghanistan’s scholars, researchers, and civil society actors

16/09/2021

GUNi along with more than 100 higher education networks, associations and organisations has joined Scholars At Risk to urge European governments and EU institutions to take immediate action to secure the lives and careers of Afghanistan’s scholars, students, and civil society actors.

Organisations supporting at-risk scholars are racing to offer assistance to researchers, scholars and civil society actors in Afghanistan who, at this moment, are desperately seeking ways to safety. For the better part of the past twenty years these scholars and civil society actors in Afghanistan have fought for a new, rights-respecting, forward-looking, knowledge-based Afghanistan. Many have worked for or in partnership with EU institutions, NATO partners, European governments and other international and civil society organisations. Hundreds travelled to Europe to seek an education and returned to their homeland, dedicated to values of openness, tolerance and free expression. These are not the values of the Taliban, so their lives are now at risk. Timely government action can still make an enormous difference.

Specifically, signatories seek immediate action from European Governments and EU institutions to:

  • Continue evacuation flights for as long as possible so as to include scholars, students, and civil society actors who have supported the forward-looking, pluralist vision of Afghanistan that the EU, European governments, NATO partners and other international and civil society organisations embraced.
  • Increase resettlement quotas to help those in need of international protection, including researchers, scholars, and civil society actors.
  • Create expedited complementary legal pathways for candidates who demonstrate an existing host institution, job, or sponsor, including for families, that would facilitate their arrival and earliest adjustment.
  • Waive any intent-to-return and home residency requirements that may apply to visa applications for Afghan scholars and researchers for the foreseeable future.
  • Establish a dedicated EU fellowship scheme for researchers and scholars at risk, including scholars, students, and civil society actors from Afghanistan, especially women and ethnic and religious minorities, to undertake fellowships, lectureships, researcher positions, or temporary academic positions at European higher education institutions.
  • Establish dedicated national fellowships for researchers and scholars at risk, including scholars, students, and civil society actors from Afghanistan, similar to existing national fellowship programmes. run by the PAUSE programme in France and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s Philipp Schwartz Initiative in Germany.

Read the full document on the Scholars At Risk’s website and contact them if you wish to support this call to European and national policy makers.

Partners

  • UNESCO. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
  • The Catalan Association of Public Universities (ACUP)

Sponsored by

  • Generalitat de Catalunya