Free to Think 2020 analyzes 341 attacks on higher education communities in 58 countries between September 1, 2019 and August 31, 2020. The report draws on data from SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project and identifies trends related to attacks on higher education communities, including violent attacks on campuses in Afghanistan, India, and Yemen; wrongful imprisonments and prosecutions of scholars; restrictions on academic travel, deployed most prominently by authorities in Israel, Turkey, and the United States; pressures on student expression included sustained pressures in Colombia, India, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and South Africa; and legislative and administrative threats to university autonomy, including in Brazil, Ghana, Poland, Romania, Russia, and Turkey.

Free to Think 2020 analyzes 341 attacks on higher education communities in 58 countries between September 1, 2019 and August 31, 2020. The report draws on data from Scholars At Risk’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project and identifies trends related to attacks on higher education communities, including violent attacks on campuses in Afghanistan, India, and Yemen; wrongful imprisonments and prosecutions of scholars; restrictions on academic travel, deployed most prominently by authorities in Israel, Turkey, and the United States; pressures on student expression included sustained pressures in Colombia, India, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and South Africa; and legislative and administrative threats to university autonomy, including in Brazil, Ghana, Poland, Romania, Russia, and Turkey.

In the present report, submitted pursuant to Human Rights Council resolutions 8/4 and 44/3, the Special Rapporteur on the right to education considers the cultural dimensions of the right to education, which are crucial to ensuring that the universal right to inclusive and quality education is realized, as called for in Sustainable Development Goal 4. The Special Rapporteur calls for the right to education to be viewed as a cultural right – that is, as the right of each person to the cultural resources necessary to freely follow a process of identification, to experience mutually rewarding relations his or her life long, to deal with the crucial challenges facing our world and to engage in the practices that make it possible to take ownership of and contribute to these resources.

What is unique about this approach is its conception of educational life as a living relationship between actors (students, educators, organizations and other associated actors) and collections of knowledge that form shared cultural resources, vectors of identity, values and meaning, without which action is impossible.