The European University Association (EUA) strongly condemns the attack on the American University in Kabul, Afghanistan that took place on 24 August 2016. A group of militants raided the university killing 16 people, including students and staff, and injuring dozens more.
EUA would like to express its condolences for the victims and its solidarity with the university, which has temporarily suspended its activities. The Association would also like to highlight the barbarity of these attacks and the alarming reality that such attacks continue to happen around the world.
The attack in Afghanistan comes just months after the attack on Bacha Khan University in Pakistan (20 January 2016) that killed more than 20 people. It also comes less than a year and a half after the appalling attack on Garissa University College in Kenya (2 April 2015) that killed 147 students.
Attacks on universities, their students and scholars weaken or destroy academic freedom, have a devastating impact on research, teaching and access to education, and impair society’s long-term development. EUA stands firm in its belief that any act of violence or attack on education runs counter to the fundamental university values of freedom of thought and expression, tolerance and autonomy. They also undermine the ambition and fundamental right of any person to gain an education and contribute to their country, society and the world.
Safeguarding the freedom and safety of universities and university communities is therefore vital in ensuring the advancement of knowledge and the cultural and scientific development of humankind.
In keeping with its endorsement of the principles of the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack, EUA calls on universities to unite in condemning the attack on the American University in Afghanistan. It further appeals to the international community to take action to protect universities from attacks and prevent them from happening in the future.
For more on how EUA stands up for university values, please click here.