Solidarity with Brazilian universities

by Jean-Paul Lainé, President of WFSW

The information coming from Brazil is particularly alarming. What happens must be known to all. We are concerned as scientific workers but also as citizens.

For many months, during the election campaign and since the election of Mr. Bolsonaro, verbal violence, physical and judicial violence have invaded society and especially universities. An elected president, nostalgic for years of dictatorship, presents himself as leader of a clan against the others, against the weakest, the minorities and all those who are different. He claims to ignore environmental challenges. The hunt for those who think “bad” is started in the media but also in universities and research centers.

The whole Brazilian University is losing its meaning as a place of development of thought, knowledge and critical thinking. The loss of autonomy of the University also represents the loss of democratic life in Brazil.

The World Federation of Scientific Workers (WFSW) recalls that Brazil is a signatory to the UNESCO Recommendation on Science and Scientific Researchers which states that “by their attitude towards scientific researchers, Member States should demonstrate that, and act to ensure that research and development …are an explicit component of the global effort of nations to build a more humane, just and inclusive society, in the service of protection and improvement of the cultural and material well-being of their nationals “(Article 4)

The WFSW strongly declares its solidarity with the Brazilian academic community and demands respect for the freedom of expression and exercise of their profession of teacher-researchers, students and all university workers.

History teaches us the price of indifference to such situations; however, on other continents, intolerance and xenophobia, which can lead to the worst disasters, also appear and develop. It is urgent to work for the awareness of the necessary solidarity of the passengers of the spacecraft “Earth”.

It is up to scientific workers and their organizations, in all countries, to turn to their respective governments and ask them to intervene by all appropriate means, including within the framework of the United Nations system, to stop this process.