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Committee on Human Rights
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
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Network Logo 2011

Statement to the Government of the Netherlands and Members of the Netherlands Staten-Generaal
August 13, 2008

We, the following members of the Executive Committee of the International Human Rights Network of Academies and Scholarly Societies, are taken aback by recent education-related regulations implemented in the Netherlands that are clearly discriminatory.

It is our understanding that, under these regulations, all Iranian nationals, including those with joint Dutch/Iranian citizenship, are prohibited from attending graduate-level courses or entering facilities related to nuclear and rocket technologies. Such regulatory measures run afoul of, inter alia, articles 2 and 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and article 1 of UNESCO’s Convention against Discrimination in Education (CADE).

Article 2 of the UDHDR recognizes that “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as . . . national or social origin.” It goes on to say that “no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs.” Article 26 states that . . higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit. Additionally, Article 1 of the CADE prohibits “any distinction, exclusion, limitation or preference” based on, inter alia, national origin.

Given these articles, we urge you to amend the relevant regulations to allow all students, including those with Iranian or dual Dutch-Iranian citizenship, to apply to courses in the nine subject areas specified in the aforementioned regulations and to be admitted on the basis of merit. Then, and only then, if deemed necessary, should students be interviewed, individually, as to whether they meet reasonable security and confidentiality requirements to enroll in courses or enter facilities related to nuclear technology.

Arjuna Aluwihare
Sri Lanka

Abdallah S. Daar

François Jacob

Belita Koiller

Ida Nicolaisen

John Polanyi

Alenka Šelih

Pieter van Dijk
The Netherlands