A Petition to the European Union

We urge the European Union to respect academic freedom and lift the censorship it imposed on a groundbreaking study in Africa: “Voices of the People” initiative in Guinea-Bissau.

This EU-funded project was designed to generate knowledge in support of Guinea-Bissau’s democratic development. It organized the country’s first national public opinion survey and crafted a unique study combining various scientific methodologies. 

Ten scholars from Africa, Europe and the Americas collaborated in the preparation of an edited volume, Voices of the People: Society, Politics and Public Opinion in Guinea-Bissau. The book manuscript was reviewed and praised by EU officials.

In a striking turn of events, in November 2021, the EU decided to ban the publication of the book and its ancillary studies, despite a contractual obligation to publish and disseminate the research findings. No explanations were given for this unilateral decision. 

As a result, the EU has not only censored a unique academic study but also violated its agreement to secure open access to the information produced. 

As scholars, researchers and intellectuals from various parts of the globe, we call on the EU to demonstrate consistency and credibility in the quest to promote science and human rights. 

In particular, we urge the EU to lift all of its restrictions on the publication of the Voices of the People book and its ancillary studies.

We believe EU commitments with research institutions worldwide should include clear measures designed to uphold academic freedom and transparency.

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