Students at Risk (StAR) is a programme that gives students, who have experienced persecution, threats or expulsion from their higher education institution because of their peaceful activism and fight for human rights and democratic change, a chance to finish their education abroad. With an academic degree and an international network, the students are better equipped to continue the fight for human rights and democracy in their own country.

StAR was initiated by student organisations (SAIH and NSO) in Norway in 2012. The pilot programme started in 2015.

Students have always led the way in the fight for change and governments have always looked for ways to neutralize these agents of change. By protecting and promoting actors for democratic change, we defend important norms, which in time will help assure a more stable and peaceful world.



See the videos of Mostafa from Egypt, Joana from Zimbabwe and Bheki from Swaziland. They are all finishing their studies in exile in Norway after being forced to flee because of their fight for academic freedom and stundent rights



Reporting violations against student’ rights in Egypt

A new report from SAIH and the human rights organisation AFTE reveals more than 2000 violations of student rights and academic freedom in Egypt. The report “Besieged Universities” was launched March 21 and documents grave abuses against students, student activists and student leaders in the country. It concludes that the Egyptian authorities have strangled a burgeoning democracy movement at Egyptian universities. In total, 2318 violations of student rights at Egyptian public unviersities and the AL-Azhar University are documented in the report. Of these, 1181 are arrests and 65 students have been sent to military court. In addition, 626 students have been permanently expelled and 21 students killed by security forces in clashes with protesters. No offenders have been convicted for the killings. The assaults of students must be seen in conjunction with other attacks on civil society and human rights activists in Egypt.

Photo: Reuters Mohamed Abd El Ghany 14. mai 2014

Photo: Reuters Mohamed Abd El Ghany 14. mai 2014

- There was enormous hope for democratic development after the revolution that took place in Tahrir Square in Egypt in 2011. While the world has looked another way, the military regime of former President Mubarak has been reinstated, says president of SAIH, Inga Marie Nymo Riseth.

The report is written and released in cooperation with the Egyptian human rights organisation Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE). One of the report authors, Amira Abdelhamid, emphasizes that the figures do not give a complete picture of the extent of human rights violations.

- Anyone who has been following the political situation in Egypt during the last years understands that the extreme lack of democratic openness, the corrupt juiridical system and the extreme makes it hard – and sometimes dangerous, to collect data, she says.

Read the full report

"Besieged Universities", 2017:
SAIH and AFTEs new report Besieged Universities documents more than 2000 violations of students’ rights in Egypt from 2013 to 2016.  

Read the full report here.

"Free to Think", 2016:
A report that found attacks on academic freedom reported in 35 countries, occurring between May 1, 2015 and September 1, 2016. Reported attacks include killings, violence and disappearances; wrongful prosecution and imprisonment; loss of position and expulsion from study; improper travel restrictions; and other severe or systemic issues (including, for example, university closures or military occupation of campus).

Read the full report here.



Click the images to see the full profiles.



Proud Supporters of Academic Freedom is a campaign initiated by SAIH and NSO. We aim to celebrate existing academic freedom, and cheer for activists’ non-violent struggle for academic freedom, human rights and democracy around the world. Students and academics experience a range of threats from governments and non-state actors in attempts to silence their voices. We know that open debates, free dissemination of knowledge, exchanging experiences and peaceful protests not only are human rights, they strengthen development and democracy.

Political targets:

  • Students at Risk becomes a permanent programme in Norway

  • Spread the Students at Risk-programme to Nordic and other European countries

  • Work to strengthen monitoring mechanisms of violations of students’ and academics rights

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About SAIH
SAIH – Norwegian Students’ and Academics’ International Assistance Fund. SAIH is the solidarity organization of students and academics in Norway. SAIH supports civil society organizations, teachers’ and student’ unions in eight countries in Latin America, Southern Africa and Asia. In addition to long-term development work, SAIH is doing advocacy work in Norway and internationally.

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About NSO
The National Union of Students in Norway (Norsk studentorganisasjon, or NSO in Norwegian) is the largest organisation for students in Norway. Comprising 31 member unions from higher education institutions across the country. The member unions represents more than 230 000 students. NSO’s goal is to ensure students’ academic, social and economic rights.