EP: Persecuted scientists come to the Netherlands

Soon, some thirty persecuted scientists will be employed on a temporary basis by Dutch universities. This was announced last week by UAF and Scholars at Risk.

Persecuted scientists come to the Netherlands

All universities except Wageningen and Maastricht have promised to cooperate, although negotiations with the universities of Delft, Utrecht and Rotterdam still have to be concluded. The participating institutions will each make one or two positions available every year. The temporary positions which will have an average duration of one year will be partly sponsored by funds like the European Refugee Fund and partly by the universities themselves. The Foundation for Refugee Students UAF aims for an average of ten researchers for every year of the three-year pilot.
The researchers will be selected by the American organisation Scholars at Risk, which has been supporting persecuted scientists in the United States for ten years now. “They know from experience that 50 per cent of the invited researchers are able to return to their home countries after the agreed period. If the situation in their countries has not improved, we will try and find another solution”, says a spokesman.
UAF President Ruud Lubbers considers it an ‘honorary duty’ to support persecuted academics. “Highly educated people run a higher risk of being persecuted than others. They are more inclined to speak out and as a result are more threatening to dictatorships.”