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“Measuring” the Erosion of Academic Freedom as an International Human Right: A Report on the Legal P

This Article reports and comments on the results of an assessment of the legal protection of the right to academic freedom (an examination of its factual protection to be undertaken at a future point) in EU member states, having examined these countries’ constitutions, laws on higher education, and other relevant legislation. The assessment relied on a standard scorecard, developed by utilizing indicators of protection of academic freedom, notably as reflected in UNESCO’s Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher- Education Teaching Personnel, a document of 1997 that is not legally, but “politically” binding, and which concretizes international human rights requirements in respect of academic freedom—a right under international human rights law. The results for the various countries have been quantified, and the countries have been ranked in accordance with “their performance.” Overall, the state of the legal protection of the right to academic freedom in Europe appears to be one of “ill- health.” Increasingly, European countries are merely paying lip service to this important right. While the concept of institutional autonomy is being misconstrued, self-governance in higher education institutions and employment security are being subjected to rigorous processes of erosion.


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