Courage our network

Edward Snowden’s statement on his inauguration as rector at the University of Glasgow

Originally published by the Evening Times and BBC, 23 April 2014

I’m disappointed and I must apologise for being unable to attend in person, but unfortunately I’ve discovered that I’m barred from entering the United Kingdom on the grounds that my presence is considered detrimental to the public good.

I do think it’s fair to say that the election shows the students of this university have a different opinion.

Regardless of what the government says, today, now, nearly a year forward, what we are learning is that the public feels something different, the students feel something different.

It’s my great honour to be given the opportunity by this university, by the students, to serve the public good not only in defence of our public rights, but as rector of this university.

In a democracy people have a right to know the policies of their government. We may not need to know the names and identities of every target of surveillance on every active operation, but we should know the general outlines and what the government is doing in our name, and particularly what the government is doing against us.

I would like to thank everyone at the University. To the student body, to the SRC, to everyone who participated in the elections. I would say it is a great honour to be part of this today.

We have to remember that human rights are not granted by governments but are inherent to our nature. We have to abide by the principles that we cannot merely believe in something, you have to speak out.

It is these principles that will guide me as rector.