AGAINST D**KTATORS AND OTHER DISEASES
Authoritarian regimes are on the rise and oppress a vast number of people across the world. Their methods of abuse, censorship and oppression differ from regime to regime, but they all have one thing in common: they’re being total(itarian) d**ks against students.
Students are often the first to speak when unjust occurs. They are the first to protest. (In Norway they are also first in line to get gonorrhea. Let’s hit two birds with one stone!)
SAIHs goal is to protect students across the world. We work to make sure that unjust does not go by in silence. We use our freedom to amplify the voice of the oppressed.
Help us get the word out: Students need protection!
Upcoming events :
OSL, OCT 1: Aktivisme i en illiberal verden
OSL OCT 1:
Beware they are educated! OSL, OCT 19: Kan vi redde demokratiet? OSL, OCT 30: Film screening & debate: President (2021) TRD, NOV 8: Hvorfor er diktatorer redde for studenter?
OSL, NOV 8:
The global "lawfare" to suppress civil society TOS, Nov 16: Akademisk frihet i krigstid
OSL, DEC 7: Gender studies: Democracy`s canary?
Link to all events, here.
HOW TO RECOGNISE A D**KTATOR?
Most democratic collapses in recent decades are not due to military coups or war, it is the actions of elected leaders that cause them to collapse.
According to the V-Dem institute, autocracies now harbor 70 % of the world population – 5.4 billion people.
So how do they go about it? Apparently, they all follow the same playbook...
First: Attacks the media and civil society
Governments from Zimbabwe to Russia are repressing activists and organizations that criticize them, using surveillance, threats, violence, and arbitrary arrests. Some are even killed.
In addition to blocking social media platforms, Russia introduced a new media law in March 2022 banning the spread of "fake news", effectively threatening journalists with up to 15 years in prison for conducting normal, critical journalism.
Passing new laws and misusing the legal system is a popular strategy among authoritarian leaders, also used to limit the work of NGOs. In Zimbabwe, an increasing number of laws have been or are being introduced, to reduce the space for civil society to operate. This trend is not new. What is cause for concern is the pace and force which countries are now carrying out this repressive strategy.
Then: Feed polarization & spread misinformation
Governments are intensifying the use of misinformation to shape opinions, according to the V-Dem Institute.
In an increasing number of countries, we are witnessing authoritarian leaders attempting to label students and other critics, as troublemakers, criminals, or terrorists. This is done to create an image of them as dangerous, normalize criminalisation and deprive them of their legitimacy as human rights defenders.
Colombia has become one of the most dangerous countries for student activists. The mistreatment of student activists does not only involve arrests, but also murder, forced disappearances, torture and forced migration. We believe that the labelling of students as vandals, guerrillas, or terrorists, contributes to an atmosphere that allows for this to happen.
Check the report "Students by day, rebels by night" (SAIH, 2021) to learn more.
Finally: Goes after democracy’s core: elections
Undermining the quality of elections is the third and final step towards autocracy.
Ever since he was elected in 2018, the Brazilian President has sparked outrage through attacking the country's electoral system. Did Jair Bolsonaro learn from Donald Trump? By casting doubt on the electoral arrangements, authoritarian leaders can reject the result if they were to lose, while still maintaining support in parts of society.
And this is key: when maintaining support, they may succeed in further attacking and destroying democracy, until the support is no longer needed, as human rights are lost.
HOW WE FIGHT BACK !
States are obligated to protect human rights activists through the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. Unfortunately, we see that many countries fail to fulfil these obligations.
Often it is the states themselves that repress students.
What SAIH does to promote students rights:
Documentation: gather evidence of violations against student rights.
Advocacy: mobilize solidarity and action through campaigns.
Protection: convince decisions makers to increase the protection of student’s rights and to hold violators accountable.