Endangered Scholars Worldwide Deplores Attack on Freedom of Expression in Brazil’s Universities

Updated: Apr 26, 2019

Reports claim that police officers and military have unleashed a full-scale operation in more than 20 public universities in Brazil as a result of the campaign and election of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro. The measures, related for the most part to political advertising control, have been taken in institutions of higher education in several states and have triggered a reaction from the academic community and public interest organizations.

Students protest against president-elect Jair Bolsonaro in Rio de Janeiro. Photograph: Silvia Izquierdo/AP

On November 1, 2018 more than 107 academics, researchers, graduates, students, and staff members at universities across Europe signed a letter opposing the attacks on freedom of expression in Brazil’s universities.

Endangered Scholars Worldwide deplores and condemns the outrageous and unforgivable invasions of Brazilian universities by military police, as well as the confiscation of teaching materials on ideological grounds, particularly those opposing antifascist history and activism. We join other academic, intellectual, and political leaders in Europe, the US, and other regions to decry this attack on Brazil’s universities in the name of Bolsonaro’s wider aggressive, antiprogressive, and fascistic agenda.

We call upon all European governments, the US Department of State, international organizations, university presidents, academic and professional associations, student groups, and individuals devoted to the promotion and defense of human rights to protest and condemn populist attacks on the pillars of Brazil’s democracy and education system. ESW urges the officials of the Brazilian Government to respect, guarantee, and implement the provisions and principles of autonomy of higher education as specified in the international conventions and treaties to which Brazil has long been a signatory.

We stand in solidarity with the students and faculty of the Brazilian universities that have been subjected to the attacks.

Please send appeals to the following:

Michael R. Pompeo