Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Publication in Nature by Declan Butler

Friday, November 14, 2008

Text from Freedom-Responsability-universality of science booklet of ICSU (International council for science )

The following text is from ICSU(International council for science) booklet in 2008.

Freedoms of scientists
Included in the Principle of Universality above are four specific freedoms for scientists—freedom of
movement, association, expression and communication. Defence of these freedoms is grounded in the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, particularly Articles 13, 19 and 20. Access to data, information
and research materials for science is also supported by article 27.

Freedom of movement

Problems in obtaining national entry visas are a relatively common obstacle to the freedom of
movement of scientists in various parts of the world. These entry visa issues are most frequently
associated with either security and/or politics and tend to be targeted at particular population groups.
There is also the problem of scientists who are not permitted by their national authorities to travel outside their own countries—generally out of fear that they will reveal embarrassing information about their country or that they might not return. Without careful monitoring and attention, there is a real danger that certain members of the global scientific community will become isolated.

ICSU and visas for scientists

ICSU and its Members have acted when scientists wishing to attend scientific meetings outside their countries of citizenship have been denied visas for political reasons. For example, in the 1970's and 1980's, ICSU actively defended ‘refusenik’ scientists who were denied exit visas from the former Soviet Union (and other Eastern block countries) to attend international scientific meetings with their colleagues in the West. During the 1980's ICSU
intervened on behalf of about 20−30 scientists per year. Examples of difficulties encountered include scientists in Taiwan who were denied visas by mainland China and vice-versa, Chinese scientists who had difficulties obtaining visas to Israel, Iraqis who were denied visas to Sweden and South Korea, Cuban scientists who were denied visas to the US and Australia, and scientists in Israel and South Africa who had difficulties obtaining
visas from a number of countries. ICSU, working with its Members, frequently intervened vis-a-vis the countries
refusing visas and, in the majority of cases, it was successful in reversing the initial refusal.
In some instances, ICSU has called for the relocation or cancellation of scientific conferences when visas have
been denied for political reasons. One notable case occurred in 1988 when ICSU General Assembly was held in China rather than Japan because the Japanese government advised ICSU that South African scientists would not be granted visas.

Friday, October 31, 2008

A possible publication of the situation in Nature

It seems that Dr. Declan Butler senior reporter at _Nature_, ( Web:
Blog: has intention to write an article about this matter (Visa problems of iranian scientists) for the journal. Of course we should collect more and more cases.
In fact he has a contact with french physician and has collected some cases about the visa descrimination of iranian researchers.
Please, if you know any more similar cases of visa obstructions (not just france), write here or send an email urgently to (send email in the case of French visa difficulties)

I strongly believe that we also should put the item of free circulation of Iranian scientists as an important discussion item of ICSU (International Council for science). We should mention the compromise and historical actions of ICSU with this issue.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Unesco: World science Day for Peace and development 2008

Well, even after more than 80 days waiting for french visa and tolerating the consequences of uncertainty in our life, we do not have any response from French embassy. I invite the people that may have similar problems to be prepared for such situations. That is why I divulge the situation that we are passing.

We are strongly convinced that: The solution is not to sit down and dream with the trivial (in particular radical) solutions.
Unfortunately, due to such visa restrictions, we see a significant number of third world scientists that are choosing the trivial solution of confining theirselves in their own ambients (which can be in eastern or western countries).

I invite every one to see the 2008 Unesco's World science Day announcement
or its previous celebrations and ask to contribute for putting the abusive Visa restrictions as a serious problem to be discussed in such opportunities. I strongly believe that an organization like ICSU (International council for science) or TWAS (Third world academy of science) should debate much more about help mechanisms (which has a wide spectrum) to the researchers of third world with circulation obstructions.

Ali Tahzibi

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Preliminary Step

Dear Colleagues,

The political issues between Iranian government and some western governments has been a serious problem for scientists born in Iran and all their paternal and academic families. It is clear that in a short time it is an immediate problem just for such people but obviously its effects in long time are too much wider.

Certainly I am not the first and unfortunately I am sure that I will not be the last one who has too many drastic histories with visa difficulties. This time after waiting two months to get French visa for a post-doc period in Dijon I was obligated to cancel my and my family’s one year plans. It is clear that waiting two months, up to just hours before your travel time with hope of getting visa without obtaining any response finally, is a torture for a family with a little child. We have even written the history of this torture.
It is not too difficult to understand that the damages of such tragedy have a wide spectrum including psychological, academics and economics problems whenever it corresponds to the case of a university professor with wife and children, doctoral students among many other academic responsibilities.

It is evident that in a generic situation these difficulties hinders the communications between nations. I should also emphasize that as a natural consequence of these problems we may observe (in fact we have examples!) the lack of interest of researchers to accept Iranian students or even rejection of financial supports by agencies.

As a first action I would like to ask you to write me the examples and the name of people who crossed a similar (or different) difficulty with French authorities and also your suggestions of where we can divulge these problems and protest. I invite to work more effectively to do something for solving the visa discriminations. I think that also as a preliminary step, the people in the similar conditions should create a virtual place to comment and protest about their real problems and and make their serious comments and suggestions and try to divulge it in a broad sense. I beleieve that IMU(International mathematical union) should help in this direction and create a global helping mechanism. We should just point out the example of ICTP in Italy which is working in this direction well.

If you believe that “Scientific though is the common heritage of mankind-Abdus Salam”, I ask why scientists should not intervene in an effective way for the mankind problems?

Sincerely yours,
29 september 2008
Ali Tahzibi

New Authorization

My travel to Germany was scheduled to 27 September till 4 October 2008. As an Iranian who has a good amount of experience in consulates of different countries, I knew that I have to apply for visa in advance and to provide all necessary documents in order to prove that I am a good man. This time I was in doubt if I will get visa or not. It was less than two years that I was working in Brazil as a Mathematics professor and my two years Brazilian visa was expiring 30 September, exactly in the same time that I was supposed to be in Germany for a conference. I had just a sheet of paper issued by Brazilian Justice Ministry saying that I have applied for a permanent Brazilian visa for the period after September. Usually the consulates verify whether you have a permission to enter the country which you go after leaving their countries. I had two options. Either I could reserve a ticket from Brazil to Germany and then to Iran. With this, my documents would be perfectly complete, even if I had no intention of visiting Iran. Or, I could go to the German consulate with the document of the Brazilian Justice Ministry and my job contract in Brazil. I chose the second option because I wanted to be a honest man and my intention was to participate the one week of the conference and right after to come back to Brazil. I applied for visa in advance and, as I suspected, they rejected my documents. "I have to provide the consulate with a document of Brazilian Federal Police ", the officer said. Well, 10 September 2008, I had my Brazilian permanent visa and I decided to apply for a German visa. "The minimum time is 10 days and the authorization may not arrive at time", the officer said. I just made the risk and said no problem. I was supposed to fly 26 September and the authorization did not arrive until this day. After a long telephone conversation, the officer suggested me to postpone my travel for few days later. "I cannot postpone the conference, however, I am going to postpone my departure to few days later and so I will have the chance of participating just two days of the conference". I did so, and an hour later I informed the consulate of my new travel plan. "Well, now we have to ask another authorization for your new travel plan and it can take more ten days", the officer said. In this point I understood that some people are completely out of logical arguments of the daily life. I lost my conference, enough amount of time, visa fee and two penalties of the air-ticket, one for postponing and one for canceling the ticket.

Hossein Movasati
29 September 2008.