Statement on account of the war between Israel and Hamas

The following statement is a joint statement from the Association of Swedish Higher Education Institutions (SUHF), which Linnaeus University supports:

The geopolitical situation is more serious today than it has been for a very long time. Ongoing conflicts result in significant human suffering, and it is painful to witness what is happening around the world. Our thoughts go out to all those affected by the misery of war.

The war between Israel and Hamas elicits strong engagement from many, also at Swedish higher education institutions. This is currently evident in the ongoing demonstrations at several Swedish universities across the country.

Swedish higher education institutions emphasise the importance of and safeguard freedom of expression and academic freedom. Peaceful demonstrations in legal forms are the right of every member of society, and students and staff at universities have the right to express their opinions.

Swedish universities do not have the task or mandate to engage in foreign policy issues. This means that neither employees, students, nor interest groups can expect universities, as employers or educational providers, to manifest foreign policy views or take positions on foreign policy issues. Academia must remain free from pressure.

There should be room to discuss also difficult issues at Swedish higher education institutions. We expect that general democratic principles are observed, that everyone seeks dialogue instead of conflict, and respects others' opinions even if they differ from their own.

Expressions and demonstrations should, of course, be conducted with respect for all employees and students, taking into consideration that university activities can continue. We do not accept harassment of employees or students or that their safety is jeopardised.

We value academic cooperation. Researchers have the freedom to decide how and with whom they collaborate, within the laws and regulations established by the Riksdag and government. This may mean that through exchanges and collaborations, they also operate in regions where there is war or conflict. These difficult decisions are made with the support of the checklist established by the Association of Swedish Higher Education Institutions (SUHF) on responsible internationalisation: Global Responsible Engagement: Checklist.

We all hope that the war ends as soon as possible. The Swedish higher education institutions see it as an important task to contribute, to the extent possible, to the rebuilding of the academic institutions that have been damaged or destroyed during the war.