Young people call for international solidarity with Ukraine in response to Russian aggression
Today, 24 February, war has been brought to Europe once again. The European Youth Forum continues to stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian youth.
We are horrified by this act of aggression and the impact it will have on Ukraine’s youth as well as the population at large - their security, their hopes, their lives.
Ukraine’s population has the right to determine their own future and destiny, and have their own history. We condemn the cynical reasons used by Russia to attack the country.
The European Youth Forum was formed to bring together young people from across Europe. We join hands across borders, political divides, religions and traditions, and our actions are inspired by the values of democracy, human rights and mutual respect.
For years we have stood against the erosion of civic space and democracy in Europe, and today we are seeing these values being completely disregarded by Russia. Open hostility and the potential violent overthrow of a democratic government is a threat to everyone’s security, and to the peace and stability of an entire region. We have seen severe violations of human rights in occupied Donetsk, Luhansk and Crimea, and the spread of such violations to the rest of Ukraine would constitute an enormous setback for human rights in the region.
Given this attack on Ukraine, and on the values we stand for, the European Youth Forum calls upon Europe and the world to condemn this attack in the strongest possible way, and to impose hard hitting sanctions on President Putin and his supporters. There are no valid reasons to justify softening our response to this invasion. The international community must acknowledge that there is only one actor at fault here. President Putin and the machinery that enables him shoulder the full blame for this act of aggression.
We call on all parties to respect international humanitarian law by ensuring that civilians and civilian infrastructure, like schools, hospitals and water systems, are protected from armed violence, and to enable swift delivery of humanitarian assistance to affected populations. As the European Youth Forum, we will offer material support to the Ukrainian Youth Council, and stand ready to support our members in this difficult time for Ukraine and Europe.
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This open letter is on behalf of the entire Youth Forum family, to the young people of Ukraine to express our commitment to stand up for your freedoms and your safety.