A New Hub to Protect Academic Freedom in the Americas

Academic freedom

By University of Ottawa

Human Rights Research and Education Centre, HRREC

A New Hub to Protect Academic Freedom in the Americas
Our Centre, along with the University of Monterrey and Scholars at Risk, has officially launched a two-year project to increase awareness and advocacy in defense of academic freedom across the Americas. The main purpose is to move forward the discourse around academic freedom by generating clear and regionally tailored guidelines, foster direct advocacy, and position the Americas as global leaders on the development of relevant human rights norms and standards to protect higher education spaces and academic communities.

The project will be rooted in the building of a sustainable network of advocates and experts throughout the hemisphere (the Americas Hub), which will be well-positioned to identify crises and situations of concern and help generate locally/regionally tailored advocacy responses.

The work of this project will revolve around two main areas. The first focuses on network building with key national and regional higher education institutions, associations, academics, and civil society organizations, seeking opportunities to promote the importance of academic freedom in the region and monitor attacks on higher education addressing national political, legal, and cultural realities. The second focuses on outreach to the Inter-American Human Rights System (which includes the Inter-American Commission and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights) aimed at developing an official statement or recommendation on academic freedom, as well as advocacy efforts before national/regional bodies to advance relevant human rights protections.

To implement this work, HRREC concluded an MOU with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to provide technical assistance, contribute to the development of the Inter-American Human Rights System (IAHRS) and promote the use of the IAHRS and its standards through the implementation of an Academic Network. The work will be conducted in the context of the Human Rights Clinic's Scholars at Risk in the Americas Project.