For the last ten days, Ukrainian citizens, including students, have been out on a peaceful protest against the decision of the government to stop actions aimed at signing an Association Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine. Protesters have been demanding that the Agreement is signed at the 3rd Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius. However, the government of Ukraine and its President have not followed citizens’ demands. Moreover, during the night of November 30, a special police department in Ukraine dispersed protesters by using physical violence against them and detained more than a dozen of them. The media reported that dozens of protesters were injured by the police.
The European Students Union and its members condemn violent actions taken by the Ukrainian special police department “Berkut” against peaceful protesters in the country. For more than a week now, the protests have been held in Ukraine and numerous violent actions have been taken against the demonstrating citizens. The extreme violence that was performed by the police on November 30 puts citizens’ well-being in danger, as well as human rights and democracy in the country.
Ukraine, as a member state of the Council of Europe, has to respect human rights, as they are universal, inalienable and indivisible. The actions of the Ukrainian police contradict the European convention on human rights. Performed violence puts in danger rights of Ukrainian citizens for freedom from torture, freedom of speech and assembly. These are fundamental human rights that have to be respected and are essential for the sustainability of democracy.
ESU calls upon Ukrainian authorities to act in accordance with the European convention on human rights, to stop use of violence against its citizens and to ensure that they have the possibility to freely express opinions in different forms, including protests and demonstrations at any given time.