The second conference on academic freedom in Arab universities took place in Amman, Jordan, at the end of March and agreed to establish a permanent committee to deal with academic freedom issues in Arab countries. The event was organised by the Amman Centre for Human Rights Studies, the Network for Education and Academic Rights (NEAR), the Scholars at Risk Network, and the United Nations University International Leadership Institute. The Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK also participated.
Academics in countries around the world endure attacks on their freedom to conduct research, to speak out publicly on political and social issues, and to teach students through their own examples how to become independent-minded. In many places, academics have been imprisoned or even killed because they offended the government. In Iraq, the number of assassinations and kidnappings of academics continues to grow. Figures obtained from the London-based Council for Assisting Refugee Academics and other sources reveal that more than 300 Iraqi academics have been killed since the invasion in 2003.