16.03.2012
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ESU supports Europe-wide protests against regime of Belarus on 18 March

BRUSSELS – The European Students’ Union (ESU) gives its full support to the pan-European street protests against the regime in Belarus, on 18 March. The action is organised by the Young European Federalists (YEF).

Allan Päll, ESU Chairperson, said: “The President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, has continuously been repressing people in Belarus for the past sixteen years. ESU has seen a vast amount of violations of human rights and has especially been concerned about the situation of Belarusian students and the everlasting lack of academic freedom.”

He added: “Lack of democratic values is not only affecting the academic development of Belarus, but as well the country’s inclusion in the European society”. In an ESU statement, drafted by ESU’s working group on Belarus, the umbrella organisation of 45 national unions of students urge for the reconsideration and affirmation of democratic values in Belarus (see annex).
On 30 November 2011, Belarus officially applied to become a member of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) but the Bologna Follow Up Group decided to advise against this membership of Belarus at its meeting on 18-19 January in Copenhagen.

ESU agreed with this conclusion as it thinks Belarus should not become member of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) without reforms first. These reforms should according to ESU ensure more student participation in higher education in Belarus as well legislative and practical support for an independent student movement in Belarus.

Päll continued: “A sustainable and independent student movement can bring highly positive changes in Belarus as a whole. Students should be free to participate and become active citizens both within the higher education and civil society, without fear of persecution.”

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For more information, please contact:
Allan Päll, ESU Chairperson: +32 479591499 or allan@esu-online.org?Marianne Slegers, ESU Communications Manager: +32/473.669.894 or marianne@esu-online.org

Annex: Full statement from ESU’s Working Group on Belarus: http://esu-online.org/news/article/6065/ESU-Statement-on-Belarus-16-March-2012/  

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