November 5, 2010: AAAS Science and Human Rights Program publishes Action Alert based on information from Scholars at Risk

Version 2

    The AAAS Science and Human Rights Program received the following information from Scholars at Risk (SAR) and has published the case   through the AAAS Action Alert system.  The Alert has been posted on the AAAS  Science and Human Rights Program wesbite and sent out via our listserv, and will be included in the next Science and Human Rights Program newsletter.

     

    Information from SAR  follows:

     

    Scholars  at Risk Network Expresses Concern over Professor Denied  Entry to India

     

    The Scholars at Risk Network is  concerned over reports that Professor Richard Shapiro, a scholar and professor  of anthropology, was recently denied permission to enter  India.  On November 4, SAR issued a  letter urging authorities to inquire into the matter and to explain publicly the  circumstances of any restrictions on Professor Shapiro’s travel or, if there are  no official restrictions, to expedite approval of any future travel requests.

     

    Background

     

    Professor Shapiro is Chair of the  Department of Anthropology at the California Institute of Integral Studies,  where he is an Associate Professor.  It is understood that on November 1st,  Professor Shapiro traveled to India with his wife, Professor Angana  Chatterji, whose research focuses on India and South Asia and who was traveling to  India in order to further her academic  and human rights-related work there.  Professor Chatterji, a well-known and  frequent visitor to the region, was granted entry to  India while her husband, Professor  Shapiro, was prevented from entering the country.  Reports indicate that no  legal basis was given for the decision to deny his entry.  It is understood that  Professor Shapiro was in possession of a valid passport and visa.  Given that  Professor Shapiro’s work focuses neither on South Asia nor  India, it appears that his right to  travel has been restricted in an attempt to intimidate his wife, Professor  Chatterji, and to discourage her from continuing her academic work in  India.

     

    Free exchange of ideas is one of the  most basic human rights and values of all academic communities.  Freedom of  travel is one of the most important avenues for furthering such exchange among  academic colleagues.  Recognizing this, the International Covenant on Civil and  Political Rights, which India has ratified, protects freedom of  expression, right to travel and scientific exchange.  Public reports that  Professor Shapiro was denied without reason permission to enter  India to accompany his wife as she  pursues academic work there suggests that these rights have not been respected.   Moreover, in the absence of any publicly expressed, legitimate grounds for doing  so, the apparent restricting of Professor Shapiro’s entry despite his possession  of a valid visa and entry stamp raises uncertainty not only about his ability to  engage with colleagues in his field in India, but also about the ability of  other scholars to plan for and undertake research in India.

     

    Scholars at Risk therefore  respectfully urges Indian authorities to investigate the situation and to  explain publicly the circumstances of any restrictions on Professor Shapiro’s  travel or, if there are no official restrictions, to expedite approval of any  future travel requests.

     

    To  view a copy of SAR’s letter of appeal, please visit their website: www.scholarsatrisk.org.

     

    This  Action Alert was posted by the AAAS Science and Human Rights Program on behalf  of the Scholars at Risk Network. SHRP has not independently verified its  contents.