You will not Silence the Voice of Students
20 June 2023
We have received the decree issued by the Ministry of Higher Education to prevent the work of our Union within all universities, and to pursue and prosecute our fellow activists in the Union, for fear that the Union’s activities would subsequently be exploited to negatively affect the academic reputation and the progress of the educational process, according to the decree.
We express our strong disapproval and rejection of this repressive decision, which represents a clear suppression of student and academic freedoms and carries with it a clear and systematic targeting of the voice of students and their Union. It is aimed at covering up the failure and corruption of successive administrations, which has led the educational process to collapse, and implementing further plans and decisions that are destructive to education in our country.
What raises our astonishment and condemnation more is the referral of the follow-up to this decision to the offices of the security services at the university. This is an unacceptable police measure and an explicit violation of the Higher Education Law, which prohibits the presence of any military manifestations on campus.
We would like to state that the academic reputation was humiliated when sectarian and ethnic power-sharing was adopted as a criterion for selecting university administrators at the expense of professional competence and integrity. The ruling forces went further in crushing this reputation when the Certificate Equivalency Law was passed, which legitimized thousands of forged certificates obtained outside Iraq, allowing their holders to later assume high positions in the state. The Ministry has continued in insulting the academic reputation, and it ignores the practices of financiers of private colleges and universities that are offensive to students and academics alike.
This decision has come at a time when the Ministry turns a blind eye to the practices of the so-called “volunteer student teams”, that are affiliated with ruling parties, and facilitates their work. It is allowing them to carry out the most heinous sectarian and political activities and the blackmail of professional educational cadres.
Accordingly, we call on the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research to withdraw this repressive decision and to make an official apology to our Union for the grave abuse it caused to the history of the first student organization in Iraq. We also hold the Ministry responsible for the security and safety of our colleagues and cadres.
We, in the General Union of Students in the Republic of Iraq, stress that these repressive practices will not undermine our resolve to continue the march of the Union that extends back over 75 years of struggle, and to continue our activities that are aimed at securing a free student life and a better future.
In the same context, we extend our call and appeal to all friendly unions, organizations and trade unions, to condemn this decision which constitutes a grave violation of student and academic freedoms, as it is part of a series of measures targeting public freedoms that are constitutionally and legally guaranteed, and to stand firmly against these practices.
Long live the General Union of Students in the Republic of Iraq
Long live the struggles of the Iraqi student movement
The General Union of Students in the Republic of Iraq