Universities from all corners of Europe observed a one minute’s silence on 27 April in remembrance of the victims of the Garissa attack and all those affected by attacks on universities and university values across the world.
The attack on Garissa University College on 2 April 2015 killed 147 students and left at least 79 people wounded. While that particular attack stands out in its barbarity, EUA drew attention to the appalling reality that attacks continue to happen every day.
The pan-European action, co-ordinated by EUA, reaffirmed the Association’s 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 and undermines the ambition and fundamental right of any person to gain qualifications and make a contribution to their nation, society and the world.
The EUA Secretariat, which also took part in the one minute’s silence in Brussels, was joined by Felix Kaputu, a scholar from the Democratic Republic of Congo, who was forced to leave his country after he was falsely accused by the authorities of participating in an alleged separatist group. He is currently teaching at the University of Ghent, where he is offered a temporary position through the 'Scholars at Risk' project, which allows him to continue his professional work in peace and security. During his speech at the EUA secretariat Dr. Kaputu highlighted the important role that European universities could play in helping threatened scholars and called for a continuous dialogue with institutions and scholars in countries affected by attacks on education.
In keeping with its endorsement of the principles of the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack, EUA calls on universities across Europe and beyond to continue condemning all forms of violence against education. We further appeal to the international community to take action to protect universities from attacks and prevent them from happening in the future.
EUA would like to thank the institutions, students and staff, including the European Students’ Union, who took part in the minute’s silence.