Academic, Cultural and Sports
Common Human Rights Acknowledgement (CHRA)

What is CHRA and who is it for?

CHRA is an alternative and simple framework that allows the boycott of individuals who do not believe in basic human rights for all. CHRA is for:

  • Academics and artists organizing events and conferences.
  • Individuals (artists, performers, athletes) participating in international events.

This initiative started after the atrocities committed by Israel in Gaza as of October 2023 but can equally apply to any indiscriminate attacks on civilian populations anywhere.


How does it work?

If you are organizing a conference, you can add a requirement for invitees from the country in question (as defined below) to publicly e-sign the declaration before attending the event; invitees who refuse to sign cannot attend the conference and are thereby boycotted.

If you are an individual (e.g. athlete) attending an international competition, you can declare that you only compete against players from the country in question as long as they e-sign the declaration; you can then boycott at this competition those players who refuse to sign.

The full list of signees and adoptees is public at the end of this page. The idea is thereby to slowly ostracize nationals of countries committing grave human rights violations who refuse to publicly condemn such violations. The declaration makes their participation in international events without standing publicly against such crimes difficult or at least restricted.


Declaration text

By signing this declaration, the individual acknowledges that they share the following basic values with the CHRA-adopting organization:

  • Opposed to all form of racism and discrimination, including but not limited to antisemitism, anti-Palestinian racism and Islamophobia
  • Opposed to the killing of civilians irrespective of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
  • Opposed to genocide, ethnic cleansing, collective punishment, apartheid states, and to forced population transfer
  • Opposed to segregated ethno-religious settlements, particularly those qualified as illegal under international law 
  • Support the application of international law for solving conflicts, including addressing the right of return of displaced persons, refugees and their families irrespective of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
  • Support the establishment of transitional justice for conflict transformation through a process of recognition, reparation and restitution. This can take shape through fair trials for all affected civilians and their families irrespective of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status and for the prosecution of all perpetrators according to international laws.
  • Opposed to military occupation, siege and blockades, settler colonization, states that segregate on the basis of identity; and believe in the right of self determination and sovereignty of all people
  • Upholds the applicability to all people of the Geneva conventions, which prohibits murder, mutilation, torture, the taking of hostages and human shields, collective punishment, starvation, unfair trial, and cruel, humiliating and degrading treatment.

By signing this declaration, the individual openly declares that they do not support the government, army or any militia of their country if it breaches any of the above points and will positively use any influence they may have to democratically shift their country towards a more peaceful and just place. Individuals also thereby confirm that they are abiding by international humanitarian law.

Any individual not signing in good faith or disagreeing with any of the above points is not welcome to present, sell, teach, talk or attend events hosted by CHRA-adopting organizations and is effectively boycotted.


Who needs to sign it?

The signature of this declaration is required by any individual who is:

  • Invited or attending an event organized by a CHRA-adopting organization
  • and has voting rights in a democratic country with a freedom of expression index above 0.40 [1] and is participating in an on-going violent military conflict at the time of the engagement with the CHRA-adopting organization.

Individuals citizens of non-democratic countries with freedom of expression index below 0.40 are assumed to be automatically in agreement with the above points by engaging with the CHRA-adopting organization without a formal signature, although a public signature is welcomed. This is to avoid retaliations to them or their families back in their undemocratic home country.
In the name of free speech, the only time when a signature is not required is when the subject of the talk or conference is the ongoing violent conflict itself. All other subjects (science, medicine, art, economics, sports etc) require a signature of this declaration without exceptions.


Signees

The following entities and individuals agree with the declaration. In addition, event organizers listed below require all attendees from affected countries to sign the declaration.

  • Hanna Kienzler, Professor of Global Health, King’s College London ❇️
  • Diana Bashur, PhD candidate, University of Vienna ❇️
  • Yasmin Gunaratnam, Professor in Social Justice, King’s College London ❇️
  • Guy Standing, Professorial Research Associate, SOAS University of London
  • Cees Van Dijk, London ❇️
  • Mona Baker, Affiliate Professor, University of Oslo ❇️
  • Reza Zia-Ebrahimi, Reader in the history of nationalism and race, King’s College London ❇️
  • Jo Drugan, Professor, Heriot-Watt University ❇️
  • Joss Moorkens, Associate Professor, Dublin City University ❇️
  • Julie Boéri, Associate Professor in Intercultural Communication, Hamad Bin Khalifa University ❇️
  • Juan Ignacio Robles, Professor Antropología Social, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid ❇️
  • Sergio Moreno, Postdoctoral researcher, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid ❇️
  • Anna Gil-Bardají, Professor in Translation and Arabic Studies, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona ❇️
  • Sara Inés Del Carmen, Adjunct Professor, Universitat Rovira i Virgili ❇️
  • Luz Gómez, Professor Arabic Studie, Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid ❇️
  • Juan Carlos Gimeno Martin, Professor, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid ❇️
  • Adil Moustaoui, Associate Professor, Universidad Complutense de Madrid ❇️

❇️: Event organizers


Frequently Asked Questions

Isn’t an all-out boycott as requested by PACBI much more effective than this half-measure?

Yes, but going with a bottom-up approach would be easier to pass than a full top-down PACBI/BDS boycott. A good example is the University of California Chancellor’s statement rejecting the PACBI boycott ; through CHRA, a small Physics research lab leader or an Anthropology department can adopt the CHRA requirement without defying university rules. It wouldn’t count as a rule-bending all-out boycott because it offers a ‘way out’ that is difficult to oppose as it is based on the simple defense of human rights for all.

Isn’t requiring a declaration from invited speakers anathema to freedom of expression?

In the name of free speech, the one exception for not needing to sign the declaration is when the subject of the organized event/discussion is the conflict itself. Otherwise, when the event is about unrelated subjects in science, art, sports, etc. this declaration presents an opportunity for the speaker to show their support for equal rights for all.

Isn’t this declaration “punishing” individual lay academics/athletes and not the larger structures responsible for war and oppression?

The individuals targeted are influential public figures with some number of ‘followers’, e.g. CEO of smaller private companies, university professors, research group leaders, athletes, not-yet-famous singers i.e. people who have some power of spreading a message. These are individuals who want to be in a public position and enjoy teaching, being influential, or professing their opinion and should be using their status to influence public opinion against oppression and in the pursuit of peace.

What about Iran, Russia, Saudi-Arabia, Syria, UAE, Azerbaijan, China? Why are speakers from these countries not required to sign the declaration?

These countries do not enjoy any level of freedom of expression (Index score significantly below 0.40). The signing or not of such a declaration has no effect on public opinion in these countries, as signees cannot be seen as making a choice based on their own convictions. Even if it were to affect public opinion, it will not have an effect on policy because of the autocratic nature of such countries. Nevertheless, speakers are strongly encouraged to sign the declaration if it does not put them or their families in danger.

Isn’t this another anti-semitic tagging? Why is it only Israeli academics/athletes/performers that have to prove their worthiness to the CHRA-Adopting Organization?

Absolutely not. This declaration applies to any individual irrespective of their religious creed or ethnicity. At this moment in history the Israeli government and army are committing mass killings in the name of Israeli citizens, including academics, athletes and performers. This declaration is an opportunity for Israeli personalities to publicize their positionality on this topic in good faith. In retrospect, had a similar requirement been in place during the Vietnam war or during apartheid South Africa, it would not be considered a tool to distinguish between “Patriotic” and “Unpatriotic” academics.

I am an individual academic, what does it mean for me to sign-up as a CHRA-requiree?

It means that any event organized by you will require attendees from the countries defined in the declaration to sign the declaration before attending the event.

I am professor/film producer/performer from Israel and I was asked to sign this declaration before attending an event in Europe, what does it mean?

By signing the CHRA-declaration, you essentially acknowledge your support of equal basic human rights for all people, please check all the individual points in the declaration above. Additionally, you agree to show this support publicly by having your name listed here.

Isn’t it antisemitic to only have to ask invited speakers from Israel to sign this declaration?

No, quite the opposite: assuming that academics from Israel fully support policies and actions of their government against Palestinians carries a prejudice. The signing of this open declaration is a simple way to publicize their support for human rights for all and their valuing human lives, while concentrating on their subject matter during the University event. Short of this, the audience is likely to assume that academics are in line with their government policies and their condoning of civilian killings carried out in their name by the Israeli military.

How can I convince my department to sign-up as a requiring entity?

Part of this initiative is the discussion created within the department during the adoption process. One can argue with the following points:

  • There is no single point in the required declaration that is controversial, what exactly would the head of department be opposed to?
  • If not adopted, practically there is already a “gray boycott” happening with individual academics shying away from organizing events and organizing events with reduced audiences
  • Events would actually be more inclusive once a CHRA-requirement is in-place
  • Sub-groups within the department will anyway become CHRA-requiring entities, so might as well have the whole department sign-up

Can university departments add the CHRA-requirement without violating university rules? How small can the entity be?

Each university has its own rules and you should check the details, but there should be no rules against adding the CHRA-requirement if the Staff and Head of Department decide so; in fact all universities already require people to accept some agreement when attending conferences or participating in workshops. Any collective level is possible and becoming a requiree isn’t restricted to departments, it could be a research sub-group, student union, discussion forums, etc.

Why is this initiative taking place now?

This initiative started in reaction to Israel’s brutal response in Gaza to the 7 October attack by Hamas. Israel inflicted mass killing and starvation of a population it besieges in the Gaza Strip. The International Court of Justice has ruled that Israel’s assault on Gaza possibly amounts to genocide.
By all accounts, the scale of the atrocities committed by Israel in response to the Hamas attack, in an extremely short time span, is unprecedented since the Second World War and thereby compels us to take a stand. At the same time, the wording of the text is broad enough to apply to any military conflict.
The signature and publication of this declaration will help clarify the signatory’s position of potential invitees with respect to civilian killings. This is important at a time of heightened global political and social tensions as a result of the mass killings. It also contributes to sensitizing populations to the topic of civilian killing in war zones.

Shouldn’t signatories condemn the targeting of unarmed civilians by Hamas?

The above points serve as a condemnation of all perpetrators of unarmed civilian killings but especially the ones done by an army or militia claiming to represent the invited speaker.

Would signatories be supporting the killing of Israeli civilians?

Not at all. Quite the contrary, the above points speak of the resolving of conflicts, which includes ending all kinds of massacres, occupation and colonization, dismantling of all kinds of structures that segregate on the basis of identity, regardless of citizenships involved. The declaration also acknowledges the right of resisting armed occupation soldiers by all means according to international laws.

Why is this initiative differentiating between democratic and non-democratic governments?

The declaration is a simple means to help individuals voice opposition to the killing of civilians carried out by their governments. The reasoning is that, by definition, in a democratic country, wars are carried out in the name of citizens. Indeed, through the electoral process and other civic mobilisations, citizens have a possibility of expressing opposition to government policies, including engaging in wars and committing war crimes. Citizens of non-democratic countries do not have such privileges and voicing opposition to government policies can have grave personal consequences including on one’s safety.

Doesn’t this constitute an academic boycott under a different name?

This declaration is an invitation to boycott of individual academics, athletes, performers, and other individuals with a public stature and power to shape public opinion who do not publicly endorse that all humans are equal. The declaration is an opportunity for such individuals from countries engaging in mass civilian killings to express their opposition to such action.

Aren’t Israeli citizens forced to serve in the national military and thus compelled to adopt its official lines?

No, Israel proclaims itself as a democracy and its citizens continue to openly disagree with the position of the army. At the same time, an individual who has served in the army in the past and who decides to sign this public declaration expresses thereby their disapproval of the Israeli military’s mass civilian killings. If an individual refuses to sign because they feel proud of belonging to the Israeli army when it is engaged in mass civilian killings, or is associated with militias that are engaged with mass civilian killings or whose academic work is funded by the military, then the CHRA-adopting organization reserves its right to not be associated with such an individual.

Do we really expect Israelis to support a declaration stating that the settlements are illegal?

Settlements are illegal under international law and they do not enjoy support of the entire Israeli population. Additionally, building settlments where only people of one religion are allowed to live should be opposed.

The right of return of refugees is mentioned in the points, can we really expect Israelis to sign it?

One of the ongoing injustices since 1948 is the issue of refugees; addressing this topic is essential and the only way to create a lasting peace would be to find a solution to this issue as part of a process of transitional justice towards reconciliation.

Why should academics/athletes/performers have to deal with this requirement?

It’s essential for individuals with a public stature and power to shape public opinion to use their platforms towards creating a more peaceful world. Signing this declaration is a simple way to do so. Additionally, by signing this declaration, when academics whose countries engage in mass civilian killings participate at University events, they can avoid the ‘elephant in the room’ and indirectly address the audience’s likely question on their positionality vis a vis such government policies.

In contrast, the possible reasoning for an academic refraining from signing the declaration is either because they believe that civilian killings can be justified in some instances, or because their work is associated with a military entity complicit in civilian killings, or because they themselves participated at in the past in such military activity or may do so in the future. We believe this would reflect the individual’s prejudice or racism as they would not believe in basic human rights of all people and runs counter to most academic codes of conduct. In any such event, the CHRA-adopting entity reserves its right to not be associated with them nor offer them a platform.

What’s the advantage for a university in implementing this requirement?

By making the signing of this declaration a prerequisite to taking part in events, a university affirms, for example, its “special social responsibility and […] the exemplary functions that come with it” to offer a space that ensures and shields itself from “intolerance, discriminating or offensive behavior” (taken from the Code-of-Conduct of the University of Vienna as an example). Students can thereby be guaranteed that speakers dissociate themselves from discriminatory practices, including mass killings, against particular groups of individuals.

From the perspective of a university, requiring individuals speaking at an event at the university’s premises either physically or online to sign this declaration ensures that its platforms consistently and by principle uphold human rights and non-discrimination against all people. Furthermore, requiring the signing of this declaration will allow the university to contribute to the public debate and sensitize the general public to the high impact of lives lost to man-made wars irrespective of who the perpetrator is. This can also help shift public opinion away from resorting to wars as a solution.

A slightly amended version of this declaration could be added to the university’s code of conduct as a way to anticipate any tensions within the university halls among students and faculty and serves to attenuate any possible such tensions. Indeed, short of implementing such a rule, accusations and counter accusations among students are likely to arise, weakening the social peace within university premises. For example, it could be that students supporting Israel’s invasion of Gaza will be attacked knowing that some call the invasion a genocide. Similarly, pro-Palestinian students who oppose the actions of the State of Israel may also be subject of attacks as some call any opposition to Israel a call for genocide. Along the same, lines, students opposed to continued support for Ukraine can be attacked as some say this will enable a Ukrainian genocide by Russia.

Why would someone refuse to sign this declaration?

In an event where an invited speaker feels they cannot agree with the declaration’s points and cannot therefore sign it, this could stem from the following possible reasoning: it is either because they believe that civilian killings can be justified in some instances, or because their work is associated with a military entity complicit in civilian killings, or because they themselves participated at in the past in such military activity or may do so in the future. We believe this would reflect their prejudice or racism as they would not believe in basic human rights of all people and runs counter to most academic codes of conduct. For this, the CHRA-adopting organization upholds its right to not give them a platform and refuses to be associated with them.

What other examples of violent conflicts would this have applied too?

War on Ukraine, war on Afghanistan, war on Iraq, among others conflicts with mass civilian killings perpetrated by a democratic country.

Most Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims strongly dislike the fact that they are asked to condemn Hamas before non-Arab audiences can listen to what they have to say – isn’t this declaration requiring the same when asking Israeli individuals with a public stature to condemn the actions of their government before we can listen to them? Why can’t we just assume it?

In an unfortunate way yes, it’s similar, with the difference being that most non-Arab audiences by now know that Hamas’ actions targeting unarmed civilians do not represent all Palestinians, just as much as ISIS does not represent Islam. Whereas the Israeli government continues to push the narrative that it is the sole spokesperson for its citizens as well as all Jews everywhere – this has also become an accepted and adopted narrative among governments and institutions including universities of the Global North. For this, it is important for individuals in question to be offered the opportunity to distance themselves from such a narrative.

How was the 0.40 threshold of free-speech index determined?

The line has to be drawn at some value; a CHRA-adopting organization can decide to have a different threshold.

Isn’t this about “punishing” people who don’t share the same view as you?

This is not about views or opinions, it’s about acknowledging basic human rights to all. Those who refuse to sign actually give their own ‘tribe’ special rights (self-defense, right-of-return, etc.) but deny it to others. None of the points listed in the declaration are controversial, are based on human rights and should accordingly apply to all people.

What if the individuals signing this declaration simply sign it and agree with all the points yet continue to be an indirect part of the oppression system?

Yes, that’s a potential problem that would render this declaration moot, however, since the signature is public this indirect contribution to the oppression system would at least create a discussion on social media.

Does this mean that Israeli signees have to deny Israel the right to self-defense?

The signee would be acknowledging that all humans are equal and all have the right to self-defense according to international law. Giving one’s own ‘tribe’ the right to self-defense but denying it to others is just racist.


Sign the acknowledgment if you have been asked so by the event-organizers or if you agree with the declaration and affirm that events organized by you require attendees to sign the declaration.




You only need to sign the acknowledgment if you are from the countries defined in the declaration and have been asked so by the event-organizers

Signing up as a CHRA-requiree means that any event organized by you will require attendees from the countries defined in the declaration to publicly sign the declaration before attending the event.

A CHRA-requiree can be a deparment, sub-group, institution, individual academic, individual athlete, etc.