‘EU leaders must recognise Russian atrocities as genocide’ say Europe’s youth organisations
On Saturday, 14 May, the largest network of youth-led organisations in Europe passed an urgent resolution condemning the Russian Federation’s mass atrocities against the people of Ukraine as genocide. The European Youth Forum, together with over 100 member youth organisations, now call for European leaders to follow this example and act against Russian aggression.
Paulína Jalakšová, Board Member of the European Youth Forum said:
“As European citizens, we have a duty to speak up against hate, discrimination and violence wherever it occurs. The European Youth Forum stands in solidarity with the young people of Ukraine and we expect our parliaments to do the same. We urge national and European leaders to call the war crimes by the Russian Federation against Ukraine what they are; acts of genocide.”
The urgent resolution, which was submitted by the National Youth Council of Ukraine, calls on Europe to embargo Russian oil and gas imports and cut off Russia from the international banking system (SWIFT). It also addresses the need to support Ukranians, by providing rapid response on trauma and mental health, and strengthen Ukrainian civil society.
Natalia Shevchuk, Chairwoman of the National Youth Council of Ukraine said:
“The atrocities committed by the Russian army aim to destroy the Ukrainian nation and, therefore, they constitute a genocide. This is an attack on Europe, on peace, and on democracy itself.
Today we are sending a strong message to European leaders, demanding that they take urgent action. As the Ukrainian army liberates more areas that were under Russian occupation, we are confronted with another horror. The pain of the humanitarian disaster inflicted right now on the people in Mariupol is felt by every Ukrainian. Ukraine’s youth needs Europe’s support, in fighting and rebuilding, and every hour counts.”
The youth organisations’ delegates voted in favour of the resolution based on evidence provided by the National Youth Council of Ukraine. This included testimonies of deliberate attacks on civilians in Irpin, Bucha and Hostomel; testimonies of abuse and rape of young women and girls to prevent them from bearing Ukrainian children; and abductions of Ukrainian civil society volunteers and activists. The Ukrainian Youth Council also highlighted multiple instances of attacks on Ukrainian children and their education, including forced transfers to Russian territory and “retraining camps” for teachers from Kherson, Kharkiv and Zaporizhia that are designed to erase the Ukrainian identity.
Notes to editors:
The Resolution was submitted by the National Youth Council of Ukraine, a member of the European Youth Forum.
According to the UN, the crime of genocide means acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group. Genocide is committed through acts of murder or causing serious injuries, as well as imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group or forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
On 8 May 2022, the European Union of Jewish Students, a member of the European Youth Forum, also denounced the atrocities committed by Russia as genocide.
The European Youth Forum is the largest platform of youth organisations in Europe. It represents over 100 diverse youth organisations and platforms from across the continent. The Forum’s Council of Members meets twice a year and brings together delegates from each member organisation to agree on key policy issues and steer the organisation’s actions.
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