Syrian students have the right to pursue their higher education, to study in a safe environment where their rights are respected under any circumstances, and to be represented by student unions in a fair way. A statement issued by the European Students’ Union (ESU) yesterday underlines the importance of protecting Syrian students from persecution and harm, as many have been forced to flee their country or end abruptly their studies.
The Syrian war has now claimed more than 100.000 lives and students have faced many challenges for the past two years when pursuing higher education or defending their rights. Higher education institutions and students have been targeted several times by the combating parties, such as Aleppo University that was attacked on January 15 this year. ESU believes this is a recurrent strategy during armed conflicts meant to harm the population and a generation that represents the future of the country.
ESU is concerned that higher education institutions in Syria do not represent a safe environment anymore because students and student representatives are subjects to external manipulations, as Syrian student representatives have reported to ESU and would like to emphasise that students have the right to freely organise, but that they must also follow democratic principles. All student unions should be autonomous and free from external manipulations, especially from governments, and open to every student in their countries.