A network of universities expressed their “deep concern” over attacks on academic freedom in Nicaragua.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega at the Alpha Summit in Caracas, Venezuela this April 24, 2024 (REUTERS/Leonardo Fernández Viloria)

International Network of Universities Coimbra Group This Wednesday expressed “great concern over the many attacks on academic freedom in institutions of higher education Nicaraguaas well as restrictions imposed on the fairness of the trial and the Right to critical education” in a Central American country.

In a statement, the network said that in August 2023, the Daniel Ortega regime in Nicaragua closed Central American University (UCA), a private institution run by Jesuits, and confiscated all its assets and infrastructure.

“After the closure, the police arbitrarily arrested its academic staff and students,” it said. The Coimbra Group is an association of 40 universities from 22 countries in Europe.

Founded in 1960, UCA has performed fundamental and important work in the field of research, offering high-quality studies and maintaining a prominent role among the most prestigious higher education and research centers in Central America.

The Jesuit UCA of Managua, considered one of the last bastions of freedom of thought in Nicaragua, was dissolved and expropriated on August 17, 2023 after being accused by the Public Ministry (Prosecutor's Office) of being a “center of terrorism.”

The University of Central America (UCA), a private institution run by Jesuits, was confiscated by the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua (REUTERS).

The Coimbra Group cited Human Rights Watch's report in its writing (Human Rights Watch) alleges that the Nicaraguan regime has suspended the activities of 28 universities since 2018 as part of a crackdown on representatives of civil society and organizations formed by more than 3,000 non-governmental organizations.

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“This is why we raise the 1988 Lima Declaration on Academic Freedom and Autonomy of Higher Education Institutions, which establishes that higher education institutions must act critically in their own society in any situation of political repression and human rights violations.” supported that network.

The Coimbra Committee urged the Nicaraguan regime and other governments of the world to immediately do everything possible to protect, preserve and restore the academic freedom and autonomy of higher education centers in their respective countries.

It has also requested the relevant authorities Ensure the protection of human rights Protection of past and present students, faculty and university staff in all higher education institutions in Nicaragua.

University students erupted in massive protests against Daniel Ortega's regime in 2018 (EFE photo)

He appealed to higher education institutions around the world to extend their goodwill Support for students, professors and staff of Nicaraguan universities, “And, whenever possible, provide opportunities for them to complete their studies and continue working, whether through digital training, a specialized enrollment system or any other form of collaboration.”

Likewise, they expressed solidarity with Nicaragua's independent higher education institutions Hard time” and calls on all university networks in the world to firmly support academic freedom and university autonomy in Nicaragua and the world.

The Coimbra Group is an international network of universities focused on promoting academic and scientific cooperation among its members. Founded in 1985 in Coimbra, Portugal, the main objective of the group is to facilitate the exchange of knowledge, experiences and resources between member universities and the mobility of students, professors and researchers.

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The Coimbra Group has more than 40 member universities from Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. These universities collaborate in various fields such as research, education, student exchange programs and joint projects.

(with information from EFE)

Esmond Harmon

"Entrepreneur. Social media advocate. Amateur travel guru. Freelance introvert. Thinker."

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