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Reaction to the events at the Closing Plenary of LevelUP!

14/04/2024

Over the last two days, the European Youth Forum proudly delivered a two-day capacity building bootcamp for 1,300 participants in Brussels, Belgium. The event was created as a space for learning, exchange, and new encounters between young people from all over Europe.

During the closing plenary of the event, some audience members interrupted the planned agenda with shouts from the gallery. This led to a diversion from the programme, beyond our control.

The European Youth Forum represents over 40 million young people across Europe, in all their diversity. Our organisation’s existence is rooted in the values of intercultural understanding, democracy, respect, diversity, human rights, active citizenship and solidarity.

We stand united against any form of antisemitism, anti-Muslim hatred, xenophobia, racism and any kind of hate speech. We protect free speech and young people expressing their voice; we will not, however, tolerate any aggression against our participants. As soon as the moderators noticed that a participant was being verbally abused, they intervened to stop this behaviour. We condemn all forms of abuse and attempts to silence any participant, and we apologise for this experience and for the unsafe atmosphere which surrounded these moments.

We are committed to provide safer spaces for all our participants. Together with our team and partners we will evaluate and learn from this incident. We offer our support to EUJS and any other persons and organisations who were affected.

The Youth Forum strongly stands behind our adopted positions on “Youth Advocacy for Peace: A Human Rights Lens on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” and on “Finding unity in challenging times”, we underscore the vital role of young people and youth organisations in conflict transformation, and fostering tolerance. We reiterate our dedication to safeguarding the democratic values of the European Union and the Council of Europe.

We would like to thank all of our participants for their active engagement and we hope that what happened in the closing plenary will not erase the mutual exchanges, the learning and the co-creation which took place throughout the event as a whole.

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