17 January 2022

Open Letter to the Embassy of Ireland in Abu Dhabi

As signers of this open letter, we are calling the Embassy of Ireland in Abu Dhabi to withdraw their discriminatory visa rejection decision that restricts an international researcher’s academic freedom and right to travel.

Mustafa Keshkeia, an instructor at Damascus University, applied for a student visa on 20.09.2021 to pursue his academic studies in Ireland after winning the prestigious PhD Scholarship with full coverage offered by the School of Applied Language and Intercultural Studies (SALIS), Dublin City University (DCU). He provided all the required documentation, including proof of his scholarship, his acceptance letter, financial support, and much more. However, his student visa application was rejected on 12.10.2021 for a number of discriminatory reasons by the Embassy of Ireland, Abu Dhabi. Mustafa appealed against the visa refusal and provided more documentation to support his application. Yet, his appeal was also rejected on 16.12.2021 based on another discriminatory reason:

OC: - Observe the conditions of the student visa - the visa sought is for a specific purpose and duration. The Appeals Officer has examined and considered all information and documentation submitted. You have not sufficiently satisfied the Appeals Officer that your primary objective is to pursue a course of studies, nor sufficiently satisfied the Appeals Officer there is economic opportunities in your country of origin that would encourage you to leave Ireland upon completion of your course of study.

We call on the Embassy of Ireland, Abu Dhabi to withdraw this decision that restricts an international researcher’s academic freedom and right to travel. It is a discriminatory prejudgement to reject the visa application intended for academic research by only refering to the economic opportunities in the applicant’s ‘country of origin’. Mustafa has already expressed and shown in his documents that he has no intention to stay in Ireland after he finishes his studies because, first, his accepted research project is about the ‘country of his origin’ and all the data collection will take place there. Second, he is leaving his beloved wife and three children there in his ‘country of origin’, and he already has a ‘life’ there. He already assured his family and Embassy that he will come back after completing his studies. Finally, Mustafa has been working as an instructor at Damascus University, and his plan is to return there and share his experiences and knowledge with his colleagues as a Doctor in the field of Crisis Translation.

In the words of Mustafa Keshkeia:

The refusal of my visa application made me believe that Visa Officers treated my application with a great deal of bias. And the justification is based only on my country of origin. They simply looked at one thing: where am I from, and disregarded any other factors, such as my academic background or my other achievements that led me to be awarded a prestigious scholarship by a renowned academic institution. Their only excuse was that they did not believe that I would go to Ireland to do research and study, and there is nothing in my homeland that would encourage me to leave Ireland after the completion of my studies.

We believe that this decision of the Embassy of Ireland in Abu Dhabi is highly troubling and limits the academic freedom and right to travel of international researchers, which undermine the scientific community, advancement of knowledge and efforts to support multinational communication. In our view, the visa decisions should be based on factual assessments of the documentation provided, rather than origins of the country.

In signing this letter, we repeat our call for urgent action from the Embassy of Ireland, Abu Dhabi to withdraw and reconsider its discriminatory decision that restricts an international researcher’s academic freedom and right to travel without any substantial reasons.

110 verified
  1. Jordi Bancells Borràs, Proofreader, Vic, Catalonia
  2. Mikhail Ramendik, IT professional, Limerick
  3. Dr,Moustafa Abdelbaki, Chief operation officer, Domiatec Holding, Cairo
  4. Claire Blennerhassett, Schol., Creative Artist, TCD Graduate, Kildare
  5. Kalpana Shankar, Professor, Dublin
  6. John Boyce, Consultant, Dublin
  7. John Drinane, Climate Activist, Swords
  8. Sheila Smith, Retired, Ratoath
  9. Dylan Higgins, Student, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin
  10. Therese Herlihy, University lecturer, University College Dublin, Dublin 16
  11. Ceri Almrott, Lecturer in Product Design, Technological University Dublin
  12. Niamh Moran, Lecturer, Rcsi, Dublin
  13. Deirdre McGuinness, Beaumont
  14. Liam White, Nurse, Tcd, Dublin
  15. Tim Downing, Lecturer, Dublin City University, Dublin
  16. Muhammad Atif Qureshi, Lecturer, Technological University Dublin, Dublin
  17. Arjumand Younus, Research Scientist and Lecturer, Technological University Dublin, Dublin
  18. Catherine Healy, Trinity College Dublin
  19. Prasanna Ramaswamy, Scientist, Cork
  20. Cóilín Parsons, Associate Professor of English, Georgetown University, Washington, DC
  21. Sophia Devlin, PhD Researcher, Ulster University, Derry
  22. Dr. Mohamad Baalbaki, Consultant, Free, Mississauga
  23. Ace, Student, VNIT, Hyderabad
  24. Svenja Fröhlich, MA Student, Dublin City University, Dublin
  25. Nguyen Nguyen, PhD student, Dublin City University, Dublin
  26. Eddie Lopez, PhD Student, Dublin City University (DCU), Dublin
  27. David Orrego-Carmona, Lecturer, Aston University, Birmingham
  28. Maher Aldakkak, PhD Student, De Montfort University, Manchester
  29. Kevin Flanagan, Anthropologist, Maynooth University, Kildare
  30. Nessma Diab, Assistant Lecturer, Ain Shams University, Cairo
  31. Christine Schlager, translator, Karl Franzens Universität Graz, Graz
  32. Aoife Cahill, Director AI research, NJ, USA
  33. Fatimah Ossman, Student, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin
  34. Boyi Huang, PhD Student, Dublin City University, Dublin
  35. Alicja Zajdel, researcher, University of Antwerp
  36. michele atzori, worker, crc posse, Casteddu, SRD
  37. Wandri Jooste, Student, DCU, Greystones
  38. Tianqi Zhang, Lecturer, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona
  39. Michaela Wolf, Associate Professor, University of Graz, Graz
  40. Mary Nurminen, University Instructor, Tampere University, Tampere
  41. Emanuela Petrucci, Lecturer, University of Graz, Graz
  42. Sheila Castilho, researcher, ADAPT Centre, Dublin
  43. Matt Riemland, PhD Student, Dublin City University, Dublin
  44. Jose Gustavo Gongora Goloubintseff, Associate Lecturer, Goldsmiths, University of London, London
  45. Rudy Loock, University, Université de Lille
  46. Donatella Camedda, Lecturer, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin
  47. Teresa Lynn, Research Fellow, Dublin City University, Dublin
  48. Delia Pagano, Senior Lecturer, University of Graz, Graz
  49. Jefimija Cvijetić, Lecturer, Department of Translation Studies, Graz
  50. Rafael Schögler, Associate Professor, Department of Translation Studies, University of Graz, Graz
  51. Eimear Madden, PhD candidate, University College London, London
  52. Isolde Schmitt, interpreter, University of Vienna, Vienna
  53. Barbara Hinterplattner, PhD student/research assistant, Department of Translation Studies, University of Graz, Graz
  54. Riona Finn, Former NCLT MSc member, DCU, Dublin
  55. Annalina Capuro, Assistant Professor, Dublin City University, Dublin
  56. Manuel Lardelli, PhD Student, Universität Graz, Graz
  57. Lucas Nunes Vieira, Senior Lecturer, University of Bristol, Bristol
  58. ahmad hakouk, PhD student, Istanbul Technical University, Istanbul
  59. Julia Kölbl, PhD candidate, University of Graz, Graz
  60. Sidharth Budhiraja, Investment Research, Evalueserve, Noida
  61. Ciarán Lynch, PhD Candidate, Georgetown University, Washington DC
  62. Edel Conway, Professor, Dublin City University, Dublin
  63. Tony Keene, Assistant Professor, University College Dublin
  64. Susan Kelleher, Assistant Professor, Dublin City University, Dublin
  65. Ana Guerberof Arenas, Researcher, University of Groningen, Groningen
  66. Sharon O'Brien, Professor, DCU, Dublin
  67. Adrià Martín-Mor, Assistant Professor, California State University, Long Beach
  68. Constantin Orasan, Professor, University of Surrey, Guildford
  69. Alessandra Rossetti, Postdoctoral researcher, University of Antwerp, Antwerp
  70. Sandra Milosavljević, Lecturer, Universität Graz, Graz
  71. Rebecca Tipton PhD, Lecturer in Interpreting and Translation, University of Manchester, Manchester
  72. Aurelie Sicard, DUBLIN CITY UNIVERSITY, Dublin
  73. Stefan Baumgarten, Professor, Universität Graz, Graz
  74. Maarit Koponen, Professor, University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu, Finland
  75. Joe O'Hara, Professor, DCU, Dublin
  76. Ashish Dha, Music teacher, Naadaalay, Dublin
  77. Oliver Czulo, Professor, Leipzig University, Leipzig
  78. Jonathan Spielberg, Brewery Manager, Dublin
  79. Christian Olalla-Soler, Post-doc researcher, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
  80. Anne Hargreaves, Translator, Millrace Translations, Colchester
  81. Rachna Shanbog, PhD student, Dublin City University, Dublin
  82. Mikel L. Forcada, University Professor, Universitat d'Alacant, Alacant
  83. Rachel Moiselle, PhD Student, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin
  84. Vicent Briva Iglesias, PhD Researcher, Dublin City University, Dublin
  85. Robert Gillanders, Associate Professor, DCU Anti-Corruption Research Centre, Dublin
  86. Andy Way, Professor, DCU, Dublin
  87. Esra Çinar, Translator and Interpreter, Barcelona
  88. Joanna Drugan, Academic, University of East Anglia, Norwich
  89. Harun Siljak, Assistant Professor, Trinity College, Dublin
  90. Joss Moorkens, Associate Professor, Dublin City University, Dublin
  91. Jean Keegan, Dublin 5
  92. Conor Houghton, Scientist, University of Bristol, Bristol
  93. Conor Dempsey, PhD, Data scientist, London
  94. Ali Allaham, Dean Higher Language Institute, Damascus University, Damascus
  95. Maude Casey, Brighton Migrant Solidarity, Brighton, England
  96. Ilya Afanasyev, Lecturer, London
  97. Lorenzo Bondioli, Researcher, University of Cambridge, Cambridge
  98. Patrick Cadwell, Lecturer, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland
  99. Jo Taylor, Solidarity Economy Association, Brighton, UK
  100. Dr Laurence Cox, Associate Professor, Maynooth University, Maynooth
  101. S. Garrett, PGR Researcher, Loughborough University, Loughborough
  102. Jouned D.I., Reasearcher, TUW, Vienna
  103. Naima Ihami, PhD, Academic, Granada University, Granada
  104. Munira Hamad, Head of Department of English, Damascus University, University of Damascus, Damascus
  105. Oussama Rabi, Researcher, Targamat, Lausanne
  106. Dr Khetam Al Sharou, Researcher, Imperial College London, London
  107. Gokhan Dogru, Postdoctoral Researcher, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona
  108. Lamiaa Abed, MA student, Damascus University, Damascus
  109. RASHEED Abdul Hadi, Specialist Visiting Lecturer, Bath Spa University, Bath
  110. Gökhan Fırat, PhD Student/Postgraduate Researcher, University of Surrey, Guildford
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