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AEGEE-Europe and European youth organisations make a stand for rights and freedom of speech in Russia

On the morning of Monday, September 24th, AEGEE-Europe, through its president Luis Alvarado Martínez, participated in a flashmob-like protest denouncing the violation of freedom of speech and youth rights in Russia, during the opening ceremony of the 9th Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Youth, in Saint Petersburg.

Using the Pussy Riot masks as a symbol of these violations, around 20 youth representatives from International NGOs, including AEGEE, JEF, ESN and Obessu, together with delegates of several National Youth Councils, stood up in silence wearing masks when Peter Matjašič, the president of the European Youth Forum, was reading his final speech, where he spoke up for youth rights, freedom of expression, and anti-discrimination, especially in the case of gay rights. The young representatives stood silently during the whole speech, while several youth minister nodded in approval, making it impossible for the Russian representatives to ignore the claim of European youth for freedom of speech and human rights.

AEGEE-Europe took part in this protest because we consider that it is important to continue striving for human rights, and especially for youth rights.  Each one of us should be given the liberty to say and express their views on the society they are living in, without fear of political persecution.

AEGEE-Europe is member of the European Youth Forum and shares its vision for human rights in all countries of Europe.

About AEGEE-Europe

AEGEE was born 27 years ago with the vision of creating a unified Europe, based on democracy and respect for human rights, bringing together students with different cultural backgrounds. Today, AEGEE is Europe’s largest interdisciplinary youth organisation: 40 countries, 200 cities, 13 000 friends. This network provides the ideal platform for young volunteers to work together on cross-border activities such as international conferences, seminars, exchanges, training courses and case study trips. In line with the challenges young people are currently facing in Europe, AEGEE’s work for the period of 2011-2014 is focused on three main areas: Youth Participation, Bridging Europe and Inclusion of Minorities.

Contact

If you would like more information about AEGEE, or the board of directors for 2012/2013, please contact:

Pavel Zborník
European Institutions and Communications Director of AEGEE-Europe

Phone: +32 2 246 0320
Mobile: +32 487 410 060
E-mail: pavel.zbornik@aegee.org