former American general David Petraeus

Birmingham UCU calls on University of Birmingham to withdraw honorary professorship for former American general implicated in torture

Birmingham UCU is calling on the University of Birmingham to withdraw its offer of an honorary professorship to David Petraeus, the former American general and director of the CIA implicated in the secret detention of Iraqis.

Last month, the University announced Petraeus had accepted an invitation of a 3-year Honorary Professorship in the Institute for Conflict, Cooperation and Security (ICCS).

The announcement described Petraeus as “one of the most prominent and accomplished U.S. military figures of the post-9/11 era” but neglected to mention reporting by The Guardian/BBC Arabic in 2013 implicated General Petraeus in the running of secret detention and torture centres to get information from Iraqi insurgents.

A spokesperson for Birmingham UCU said:

“It is extremely troubling to learn that the University of Birmingham has awarded General David Petraeus 3-year honorary professorship, especially given its public commitment to support the United Nations’ Global Goal of Peace and Justice

“We believe awarding such a prestigious position to someone who has been implicated in serious human rights abuses is incompatible with the University’s statement commitment to peace and justice and, worryingly, will send a signal to other high profile figures that they will not be rewarded rather than held accountable for their questionable actions.

“We call on the University of Birmingham to withdraw their invitation to David Petraeus and work with recognised campus trade unions and student representatives to ensure that future appointments strengthen rather than undermine global commitments to human rights, peace and justice.”

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