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Goldsmiths College: Petition for two scholarships for politically persecuted PhD-students

Goldsmiths College: Petition for two scholarships for politically persecuted PhD-students

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This petition has been created by Academics for Peace G. and may not represent the views of the Avaaz community.
Academics for Peace G.
started this petition to
Goldsmiths College
*please make sure you sign with your full name and mention Goldsmiths if your are a student/staff/alumna*

With this petition we ‐ students, members of staff and alumni of Goldsmiths ‐ call for the introduction of at least two fully‐funded scholarships for PhD‐students whose research has been interrupted for political reasons. The PhD‐scholarship(s) should be fully funded and subject to an open competition in which only PhD‐students who had to interrupt their studies for political reasons can apply.

We urge Goldsmiths to provide these scholarships with a particular view on recent events in Turkey, where so far 63 PhD-students ( have been deprived of their funding after signing the Academics for Peace Petition last January. The Petition, titled ‘We will not be party to this crime’ called on the Turkish government to end human rights violations in the country’s South East and to resume the peace process to put an end to the Turkish‐Kurdish conflict in the region. Despite its modest demands for peace, and the academics’ constitutional rights to freedom of speech, the petition was framed as ‘terrorist propaganda’ by the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Since then, at least 91 have been dismissed from their jobs, hundreds went through administrative investigations in their universities and lost government funding for research and conference participations. In addition, criminal charges have been instigated against 1124 signatories and 4 were arrested and imprisoned for over a month (trial is ongoing).

This repression has even intensified since the failed military coup against Erdogan in July 2016. The coup attempt has been used as a pretext to persecute not only the alleged supporters of the coup attempt, but also to silence any potential criticism of the Turkish government, including members of Academics for Peace. Since July, Turkey has been under state of emergency rule and a government decree issued on 1 September 2016 ruled that 44 Academics for Peace would be removed from public service with no possibility of return. Among those 44, there are also PhD‐students, who lost their government funding for their PhDs without any explanation and with no possibility of legal appeal.

While the situation in Turkey is by no means exceptional, it underscores the need to open up possibilities for PhD‐students facing political repression, since they are the most vulnerable part of the academic world. Providing alternatives for the continuation of their research is a way to protect and promote academic freedom and freedom of expression around the world. This is why we ask you to sign, support and spread the petition below which asks the senior management to introduce these scholarships for PhD‐students at risk of political persecution.

Academics for Peace Goldsmiths