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Threatened scientists need our support, says Sida leader

Researchers in developing countries are increasingly in need of additional support as they face threats and persecution for their work, the head of Sweden’s development agency has warned.

Anna Maria Oltorp, director of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency’s (Sida) research unit, has spoken out to highlight the impact of restrictive environments on scientists. This includes scientists funded by Sweden through its international research programme, in which the values of the donor might clash with those of the country where the research is carried out.

“Research support is not uncontroversial,” Oltorp said in a statement on 20 May. “Subjects such as sexual and reproductive health, LGBTQ issues, HIV/AIDS and human rights can be perceived as troublesome or dangerous by the regimes in some recipient countries, and researchers who take on these issues are often targeted.”

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