european students’ union

Ukrainian students must enjoy democratic rights

April 4, 2013

KIEV – The European Students’ Union (ESU) is appalled by the Ministry of Education and Science‘s attempt to influence the work of Ukraine‘s student bodies.

Last month, the Ministry tried to impose its view on the country‘s higher education reforms on candidates running for the position of a coordinator of the Students Council in Kiev. These students have been summoned to meetings with administrators of higher education institutions where some of them were threatened to be expelled from university or punished if they would not act accordingly to the Ministry’s wish for a new coordinator.

Approach the President

Ukrainian students have submitted a joint call to the President of Ukraine to take action in order to prevent the oppression of students and students’ unions. ESU supports that call and demands that all attempts to control students’ organisations, such as the Students Council in Kiev, will be stopped.

Ukraine is a part of the European Higher Education Area and a member of the Council of Europe. Ukrainian authorities must ensure that students and all citizens enjoy their democratic rights and freedom of expression. Students are the voices of positive changes. They should always be listened to and be involved in the decision making process. Instead, the government wants to impose its will on students opposed to the democratic values and human rights that Europe is based on,” says Karina Ufert, ESU’s Chairperson.

International agreements

ESU believes that the government has not acted accordingly to Ukraine’s international agreements stating that authorities should support the future development of the students’ movement and the inclusion of all stakeholders equally, instead of favouring the interests of single parties.

ESU trusts that the international society and institutions such as the Council of Europe will ensure that Ukraine will follow the rules of the playing field. Students and young people are one of the most important driving factors in a democratic society and their rights should be specially protected.

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For more information, please contact:

Karina Ufert, ESU Chairperson: +32/473.669.892 // karina@esu-online.org or Robert Hlynur Baldursson, ESU Communications Manager: +32/473.669.894 // robert@esu-online.org

The European Students’ Union, headquartered in Brussels, is the umbrella organisation of 47 national unions of students from 39 European countries. ESU represents and promotes the educational, social, economical and cultural interests of students at the European level. Through its member unions, ESU represents over 11 million students in Europe. To find out more about ESU, follow us on Twitter @ESUtwt, check out or Facebook page or visit www.esu-online.org. ESU celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2012.

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