Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi “A Cover Up” for UAE War Crimes, HR Violations

Jan 16 2019
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Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi is another ugly PR stunt by UAE Government – International Campaign To Boycott United Arab Emirates (ICBU) calls on the French Sorbonne University to close its branch in Abu Dhabi which is solely used by UAE as a PR student to improve its already damaged image.

The campaign can’t comprehend the fact that Sorbonne University is allying its history and big name with a fascist and repressive regime.

“As of 2019, the Paris-Sorbonne University in Abu Dhabi did not make a single position to denounce human rights violations inside UAE. It did not held a single seminar or meeting to promote journalism of press freedom. Instead, it remained silent so it doesn’t upset the UAE monarchs.” Said the campaign.

The campaign also denounces the silence of Paris-Sorbonne University, whose academic Dr Nasser bin Ghaith is a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned for the peaceful expression of his conscientiously-held beliefs. Dr Nasser bin Ghaith was convicted for “posting false information” about UAE leaders and their policies and “posting false information in order to harm the reputation and stature of the State and one of its institutions”, based on comments he made on Twitter stating that he had not been given a fair trial in an earlier case known as the “UAE 5”,

The economist, who taught at the Abu Dhabi branch of Paris-Sorbonne University, is serving a 10-year sentence for having the nerve to criticise the Egyptian regime’s human rights record (a close ally of the UAE) on Twitter.

Matthew Hedges affair as well as the imprisonment of critics, journalists and freedom of expression activist should be a wake-up call for universities which opened branches in UAE.

Its worth noting that over the past few years, major Western universities have established branch campuses in the Gulf. Paris’ Sorbonne has a campus in Abu Dhabi, while Rochester Institute of Technology and Britain’s Cambridge and Manchester have branches in Dubai. Western universities in the Gulf must re-evaluate whether the trade-off between financial largesse and reputational risk is worth it.