Declan Butler, reporter This is the personal blog of Declan Butler, a senior reporter at Nature. All views expressed here are mine, and not those of Nature. Contact me at d.butler@nature.com

November 8, 2006

Scholars at Risk calls for action against murders of Iraqi academics

Filed under: Justice — admin @ 10:37 pm

I’ve written here before about the targetted assasination of academics in Iraq. Tonight, Scholars at Risk has launched an appeal. I’ve appended its text below.
Declan

Scholars at Risk calls for action against murders of Iraqi professors

Scholars at Risk calls for letters demanding urgent government actions in response to the ongoing murders of professors in Iraq, including the recent murders in separate incidents of Baghdad University Professor Issam al-Rawi, Department of Geology, and Professor Jassim al-Asadi, Dean at the School of Administration and Economics.

Scholars at Risk (SAR) is an international network of universities and colleges dedicated to promoting academic freedom and defending threatened scholars and universities worldwide.

In issuing this release, Scholars at Risk joins many international academic organizations, including the Middle East Studies Association, the American Association of University Professors, and the Network for Education and Academic Rights, in demanding that Iraqi and international officers in Iraq make every effort to investigate thoroughly attacks on academics and universities and to provide improved security to the Iraqi higher education sector and its constituents.

According to published news reports, Professor al-Rawi, head of the University Professors’ Union, was shot outside of his home on October 30, 2006 by unknown gunmen and three days later on November 2 Professor Jassim al-Asadi, a dean at the university was shot along with his wife and son while driving in northern Baghdad. Professor al-Rawi was from the Sunni community and Professor al-Asadi was from the Shiite community. It is believed that Professor al-Asadi’s murder was in retaliation for the death of Professor al-Rawi.

The killings are merely the latest examples of a campaign of violence currently undermining Iraq’s higher education sector. According to international monitors and the Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education itself, hundreds of Iraqi academics have been killed and thousands forced to flea the country because of fears of kidnapping and assassination. Scholars at Risk is gravely concerned for the well being of Iraqi institutions and scholars still in Iraq, as well as those fleeing into exile. Recognizing the vital role that the higher education sector must play in building any better future for Iraq and its people, Scholars at Risk joins in calls for letters, emails and faxes respectfully calling on Iraqi and relevant international authorities to:

– investigate the circumstances of the deaths of Professor al-Rawi, Professor Jassim al-Asadi and other murdered professors;

– make the results and procedures of those investigation public as soon as possible;

– make every effort to identify the individuals responsible and bring them to justice in accordance with Iraqi law and internationally recognized fair trial principles;

– make a firm commitment to protecting Iraq’s higher education institutions, including the physical space of the universities as well as their administrators, faculties, staff and students, including efforts to insulate higher education institutions from sectarian politics and violence; and

– provide open, firm and public support for principles of freedom of thought, free exchange of ideas, and academic freedom as central to the mission of higher education and to the role of higher education institutions in society and in a better future for Iraq.

Please send letters, emails and faxes to:

Honorable Nuri Kamal al-Maliki
Prime Minister of the Republic of Iraq
c/o The Embassy of Iraq
1801 P Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036 USA
Fax: (202) 462-5066

Ambassador Samir Sumaidaie
The Embassy of Iraq
1801 P Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036 USA
Fax: (202) 462-5066

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520 USA

Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad
US Ambassador to Iraq
Embassy of the United States
APO AE 09316
Baghdad, Iraq USA

H.E. Dr. Salah Al-Shaikhly
Ambassador of The Republic of Iraq
Embassy of Iraq in London
9 Holland Villas Road
London
W14 8BP, UK

The Honorable Dominic Asquith CMG
Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Republic of Iraq
c/o Iraq Policy Unit
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
London
SW1A 2AH, UK

Please send copies to:

Scholars at Risk
c/o New York University
194 Mercer Street, Rm 410
New York, New York 10012
1-212-995-4402 (fax)
scholarsatrisk@nyu.edu

————————————————————————

Save the Date: November 29, 2006, London, UK
As part of its ongoing efforts to help Iraqi higher education institutions and staff, Scholars at Risk is joining with the Council for Assisting Refugee Academics (CARA) and the University College London to promote an examination of these urgent issues:

“The Plight of Academics in Iraq”
6:00 pm (reception to follow)
Chemistry Lecture Theatre
Christopher Ingold Building
University College London
20 Gordon Street London
WC1H 0AJ

RSVP: info.cara@lsbu.ac.uk or 020 7021 0880

Directions and map: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/aboutucl/location/maps/campus_2006_screen


This is a message from the Scholars at Risk Network. For more information about Scholars at Risk visit http://scholarsatrisk.nyu.edu.

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