freedom of speech – AEGEE-Europe | European Students' Forum AEGEE (Association des Etats Généraux des Etudiants de l’Europe / European Students’ Forum) is a student organisation that promotes cooperation, communication and integration amongst young people in Europe. As a non-governmental, politically independent, and non-profit organisation AEGEE is open to students and young people from all faculties and disciplines – today it counts 13 000 members, active in close to 200 university cities in 40 European countries, making it the biggest interdisciplinary student association in Europe. Thu, 14 Dec 2017 21:23:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.12 #FreeTheArctic30 /freethearctic30/ Sun, 06 Oct 2013 06:56:10 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=746 Company wrecks climate. Climate melts ice. Company prepares to drill even more oil. NGO protests drills. Coast guard attacks NGO’s boat. Crew are called pirates. Pirates are locked up. The end.

Or is it?

Today, October 5, in 160+ cities around the world citizens stood together with the Arctic 30, their families, friends, and colleagues. #FreeTheArctic30 became a global cry for justice, as those 28 Greenpeace activists, along with 2 freelancers are in a Russian jail, facing piracy charges. Criminal charges which even Russian president Vladimir Putin has dismissed.


Following a successful protest at the Prirazlomnaya oil platform in 2012, Greenpeace activists attempted to board the rig again on September 18. Their mission: to stop Gazprom from producing the world’s first Arctic oil. Oil which Greenpeace and other environmental organisations say is neither wanted nor safe, given the extreme circumstances and remote location of Arctic drilling.

The activists barely began their climb up the side of the platform though, as they are hosed down with icy water by Gazprom employees, with 2 of them being captured at gunpoint and taken aboard a vessel of the Russian coast guard. Less than 24h later, while in international waters, their support ship the Arctic Sunrise is boarded and taken over by armed FSB forces, and towed to Murmansk, Russia.

According to several international law experts, this armed boarding and capture of a foreign (Dutch) ship in international waters constitutes a breach of international maritime law (UNCLOS). Ironically, after days of legal uncertainty, the Arctic 30 have now themselves been charged with piracy under Russian law, thereby creating a post factum pretext for the illegal boarding of the Arctic Sunrise.

While people gathered in peaceful protest from Seattle to Sydney and from Cape Town to Moscow, adding their presence to the more than 1 million emails sent to Russian ambassadors the world over, the Arctic 30 remain imprisoned in Murmansk. If convicted, they could face sentences of up to 15 years of jail. They are being treated as criminals, though their only crime consists of peaceful protest against practices which are putting the health of the fragile Arctic at serious risk.

As an organisation which above all values respect for human rights, in particular freedom of speech, AEGEE-Europe is deeply concerned about the situation of the Arctic 30. Each one of us should be given the liberty to peacefully express their views on the society they live in, without fear of political or criminal persecution. The Arctic simply is not a playground for ill-prepared mining companies, a topic AEGEE’s own Environmental Working Group will take up in its upcoming meeting.

AEGEE-Europe therefore wholeheartedly supports the Arctic 30, their families, friends, and colleagues in these difficult times. We further applaud the Dutch government for its decision to take legal steps to gain the release of the Arctic Sunrise and its crew, activists, and freelancers. Adding our voices to those of Amnesty International, WWF, and 1 million others, AEGEE-Europe calls upon the Russian authorities to immediately #FreeTheArctic30.

Written by Mathieu Soete, AEGEE-Europe’s Policy Officer for Sustainability.

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From Russia with Love, European youth claiming for rights and freedom of speech /from-russia-with-love-european-youth-claiming-for-rights-and-freedom-of-speech/ Mon, 24 Sep 2012 10:39:42 +0000 http://aegee.blogactiv.eu/?p=55 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.

Youth representatives claiming for stronger youth rights in Europe

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.

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