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UCU calls on members to support Iraqi academics

30 November 2006 | last updated: 15 December 2015

UCU has added its backing to an emergency fund for Iraqi academics.

The fund, launched by the Council for Assisting Refugee Academics (CARA), will lobby the UK government to provide sanctuary for fleeing Iraqi academics and provide ways to help those still in the country.

Hundreds of academics have been killed in Iraq since March 2003. The Iraqi minister of education has said that 296 members of education staff were killed in 2005 alone. According to the UN office for humanitarian affairs 180 teachers have been killed since 2006, up to 100 have been kidnapped and over 3,250 have fled the country.

In the past fortnight at least six academics have been assassinated following the kidnapping of scientists from the higher education ministry. Ali Kadhim Ali, a professor of technology at the Technological University of Baghdad, and his wife Baida Obeid, a gynaecologist, were killed two days after the raid. Two professors from Babil University were also murdered by gunmen.

UCU joint general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'This continued violence against the academic and educational community is creating a massive brain drain from Iraq which will be hard, if not impossible, to recover.

'Academic freedom is the bedrock of a democratic society and all academics, wherever they are in the world, have the right to teach free from violence and fear. We hope our members will give generously to help Iraqi colleagues who are fleeing for their lives or still in the region.'

Donations can be made through the CARA website at http://www.academic-refugees.org/

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