KSU has been monitoring the situation in Belarus closely where for the past month, thousands of Belarusians, including students, took part in peaceful demonstrations demanding free and fair elections. These activists have been violently detained by masked and unidentified riot police in the streets and inside universities; thousands have been arrested, hundreds have been tortured and 5 people have been killed, while 6 people are still missing, most of which are youth. With professors and administrations calling in masked individuals to arrest students protesting peacefully on university grounds, students are now faced with a culture of fear and repression in a place which should be a forum for the free exchange of knowledge and ideas.
In light of the blatant breach of academic freedom and the basic principles of democracy by the Belarusian government, KSU joins the European Students’ Union (ESU) together with the Belarusian Students’ Association (BSA) and the Brotherhood of Organizers of Student Self-government (BOSS) in:
1. Demanding the Belarusian Ministry of Internal Affairs to free all detained students and protestors immediately and stop the use of riot police, brutality and arbitrary detention of peaceful protesters.
2. Condemning the complicity of university management in allowing police surveillance and brutality towards students within the university grounds.
3. Demanding justice for victims of police brutality and persecution.
4. Calling upon the European Higher Education Area to use all the international pressure on the Ministry of Education in Belarus in order to ensure the rights of Belarusian Students are protected.
KSU will also be joining ESU and other international student organisations in calling for the European University Association and European Commission to work towards collective solidarity, engagement and a united front in response to the ongoing political crisis in Belarus.
KSU has also sent a letter to Minister Owen Bonnici whose Ministry will be attending the Bologna Follow Up Group (BFUG) meeting in the coming days, asking the Government of Malta to:
1. Condemn the complete disregard for the rights of students and academics in Belarus and to demand the immediate release of those who were arbitrarily detained;
2. Together with our European counterparts, request the Bologna Follow Up Group to send an official letter to the World Bank demanding a suspension on the provision of any funds for the higher education modernisation project in Belarus; (“Belarus Higher Education Modernisation Project – P167992”),
3. Supporting the creation of scholarship schemes for all those students in Belarus who experience political persecution and demanding the other EHEA member countries to act similarly.
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