The Russian Federation has violated international law by attacking three Ukrainian boats, seizing them and taking 24 sailors captive. The Ukrainian Association of Students (UAS) and the European Students’ Union (ESU) strongly condemn this action, together with various world leaders, the European Union and NATO. Crimea and its coastal waters are Ukrainian territory according to international law, including a treaty that was ratified by Ukraine and Russia, signed by President Putin, which defines the Azov Sea and the Kerch Strait as shared territorial waters.
As consequence of Russia’s act of aggression, the martial law was implemented in Ukraine’s southern and eastern regions. However, instruments granted to Government under martial law regime should be used with caution, as they allow restricting public gathering, free media and free movement of persons. It is necessary to follow the situation in order that nor the UN Covenants on Human Rights, nor the European Convention on Human Rights will be breached.
This action causes as well a severe violation on the Bergen Declaration, as adopted by student representatives from South America, North America, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Pacific in May 2016. By continuously endangering territorial borders of a nation, security and certainty within a country are eroded. This disrupts the sustainability, mobility and safety of higher education, as stipulated in the Bergen Declaration.
The Ukrainian Association of Students (UAS) and the European Students’ Union (ESU) urge that any restrictions on right to education which may be imposed under martial law should be introduced only if strictly necessary for military purposes, and in accordance with the procedure prescribed by law.
UAS and ESU insist on a sustainable solution for this ongoing situation which has a severe impact on daily life and therefore as well on student life.