Campus 27 January 2022

VU Human Rights Center suspends activities

The controversial Cross Cultural Human Rights Center (CCHR) ceased all activities last Tuesday. “And that is a decision by the management of the center itself, which is welcomed by the Executive Board”, said a VU spokesperson.

The CCHRC was discredited last week after the NOS reported that research into human rights in China is financed for the most part by China itself and that employees of the center, including professor and director Tom Zwart and researcher Peter Peverelli, in (Chinese) media and on the website of the CCHRC, among other things, downplay the Chinese oppression of the Uyghurs. The VU subsequently stopped the Chinese financing and decided to repay the financing received in the past year.

In a new NOS report, an unnamed employee first says that it was the VU that forced the center to shut down activities and later, after speaking with executives, endorses the official reading that it was a decision of the center itself. According to the NOS, that story is contradicted by several employees.

‘In mutual consultation’

“The VU and the center are of course in close contact”, the spokesperson told Ad Valvas. “The shutdown was done in mutual consultation.” The CCHRC employee who first told the NOS that the decision was made by the VU and then retracted his words, was “overrun” by the NOS journalist who called him, according to the spokesperson. “It is clumsiness that has now led to a crazy discussion. Out of loyalty to the CCHR leadership, this employee first gave credit to the board of the VU.”

The activities have been stopped pending the results of an investigation that the VU is conducting into this human rights center.

Peter Breedveld
IMAGE: Kuzzat Altay via Unsplash


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