Aug 152008

Statement on the fightings in Georgia on behalf of the European Youth Forum: European youth organisations are shocked to observe the horrors of full-fledged war on our continent on the occasion of the International Youth Day. Children and youth are the most vulnerable groups in armed conflicts, not only by being caught in the crossfire but also by through serving in the armed forces. It is not the leaders in grey suits but the children and young people that are suffering in the trenches, bomb-shelters or lying wounded on the streets. The European Youth Forum calls upon both Russian and Georgian leaders to make every effort possible to resolve this crisis in peaceful means. First step must be an immediate cease-fire.

At the moment of crisis, I want to assure young people and youth organisations in Georgia, as well as Russia, affected by these terrible events, that you are not alone. Georgia and Russia are integral part of Europe, we are members of the family with us and our thoughts are with you at this very moment. Europe has to stand together in ending this bloodshead.

Responsibility in solving this crisis lies with the Russian and Georgian governments as well as the international community. What young people and youth organisations can do in this situation is to be aware of what is happening, talk with their friends about it and create public pressure towards decision-makers in every European country to make sure that the suffering of Georgian and Russian children and young people is not forgotten and that every effort is made to end this crisis in full respect of democracy, human rights and the international law.

Children and young people have the right to grow up in a world where they can trust that peace, humanity and mutual respect shall prevail. The mission of European youth organisations in providing young people a space for working together and expressing themselves is more crucial than ever on a moment like this.

Jaakko Weuro
European Youth Forum