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Sign to support academic freedom in Iraq

February 26th, 2007

Dr Petra

CARA (Council for Assisting Refugee Academics) are asking for signatures on a petition drawing attention to the plight of academics in Iraq. The petition addresses four key areas, to:

1. express our deep distress at the current plight of Iraqi academics and our outrage at the lack of protection available to them in the face of systematic campaigns of kidnap, torture and murder. What is happening to Iraq’s intellectuals is chilling. We cannot, and should not, stand idly by while our colleagues are being murdered with impunity;

2. express our profound concern at the impending destruction of Iraq’s higher-education system. Its institutions are under siege and its scholars, teachers, administrators and students are all under attack. If this continues unabated, the climate of fear will empty Iraq of its intellectual capital, a loss from which it could take generations to recover;

3. urge the British Government to do all that it can to protect the lives of the courageous Iraqi academics who remain in Iraq, to stem the outward flow of those in fear of their lives and the devastating loss to the country’s future medical, scientific and cultural development;

4. urge the British Government to take the lead in a national and international initiative to develop mechanisms to support Iraqi academics and their dependents who have sought refuge elsewhere in the Middle East or in the UK. Such mechanisms should facilitate the active engagement of Iraqi academics in host country higher-education or research institutions, and should create links between Iraqi academics in Iraq and in exile and their peers in the Middle East and the UK. The British Government should establish such mechanisms in collaboration with relevant government and non-governmental bodies in the UK and elsewhere in the world; with international, national and regional university networks and individual higher education institutions; and help to ensure appropriate financial provision.

Click here to sign the petition or here to donate to the emergency fund to support Iraqi academics.

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