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International human rights group supports UCPH refugee call

University of Copenhagen rector's offer of a free education for refugees is supported by a top international Human Rights Watch director

Last week’s open letter to the Danish Minister of Education from the University of Copenhagen’s rector Ralf Hemmingsen is supported by a leading human rights activist. Refugees should be allowed to be educated at UCPH free of charge.

Human Rights Watch’ Director of Emergencies Peter Bouckaert gave a talk Wednesday in Copenhagen on the refugee crisis and the European response. He spoke of the lack of leadership shown in Europe, and said that only German Chancellor Angela Merkel, has been realistic in her response to the crisis. Exactly because of the inaction shown by the politicians, he welcomes the UCPH plea from last week to the Minister of Education to admit refugees free of charge, he said.

“It is great to see the university take a leading role in solving this crisis. Many refugees can and want to contribute and integrate,” he said.

Stand up against politicians’ apathy

He reiterates the point made by Prorector Lykke Friis on the letter, describing how we should turn the refugee situation into a “win-win situation.”

When the politicians show apathy, Bouckaert said, it is important that individuals as well as institutions like universities step up and take responsibility.

“We must encourage civic society to send the right message to the politicians, and to the refugees: You are welcome.”

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