SAR Europe warmly welcomes the publication of the European External Action Service’s (EEAS) 2022 Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World.
The first time a section dedicated to “Academic Freedom” appeared in these annual reports was the 2021 Report (pg.109). Therefore we are delighted to see this continue in the 2022 Report, and that it has been expanded to include not just academic freedom, but also the protection of the academic community at risk (pg. 84). We especially welcome language that acknowledges that “[b]oth human rights and higher education policies” work to uphold academic freedom in the world and protect the academic community at risk. However, while the report states that EU Delegations continued to play a key role in monitoring and reporting on violations of academic freedom in third countries, we found very little documented accounts of this work in the country reports that accompany the 2022 Report. Increased visibility of the threats facing academic freedom and the academic community are a necessary step in ensuring a complete base of evidence that will lead to more robust global monitoring, and provide a basis for advocates to raise awareness, hold perpetrators to account and improve efforts to prevent and respond to attacks on academic freedom.