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.