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WASHINGTON—On the eve of the December 5-6 OSCE Ministerial Council taking place in Kyiv, Ukraine, Helsinki Commission Chairman Senator Ben Cardin (MD) issued the following statement:
“As a long-time supporter of the democratic aspirations of the Ukrainian people, I am deeply distressed by the recent violence on the streets of Kyiv. The brutal dispersal of peaceful protests and beatings of dozens of journalists constitute serious violations of Ukraine's OSCE commitments on freedom of assembly and freedom of expression. I am particularly concerned by reports that the whereabouts of more than a dozen protesters cannot be determined.
In light of these developments, this is not the time to mince words or engage in obfuscation. Ministers should take advantage of this opportunity to act in support of Ukrainian democracy. I urge the representatives of the participating States meeting in Kyiv to address these human rights issues in a clear and unequivocal manner. Детальніше-Read More
A dangerous stunt acted out by provocateurs and the Berkut riot police on Sunday outside the president’s administration on Bankova St has taken a sinister turn. On Dec. 3, 9 men, five of them still in hospital after being badly beaten by the riot police, were remanded in custody for 2 months. All were peaceful protesters, without masks, who seem to have had nothing to do with the confrontation between a crowd of masked young men and the riot police. It is especially disturbing that various video clips are widely available showing some of them being brutally beaten, as well as backing allegations that the whole confrontation was orchestrated. It is possible that the authorities are not even trying to conceal this. The message, after all, is chilling: go out and protest and you could end up in hospital and facing a 5- 8-year sentence for “taking part in mass riots”. Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group Детальніше-Read More
(CNN) -- It feels like a rerun of the Orange Revolution. Similar to late 2004 when hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians took to the streets to protest what they saw as a fraudulent presidential election, mass demonstrations have been taking place ever since the government in Kiev suspended an association and trade agreement with the European Union some days ago. ...... Many in Ukraine feel today that they have reached a final junction. They do not want to miss what may be the last opportunity in many years to come for a principal, some even say civilizational, choice between Europe and Russia, democracy and dictatorship, sovereignty and subordination, prosperity and poverty, modernity and mayhem. Indeed, the contrast between what Ukraine can expect from her Western and Eastern neighbors could not be starker.......Hundreds of thousands of courageous Ukrainians have handed their country, and Europe, a second chance. It may be the last, and it must not be wasted. By Joerg Forbrig, Special to CNN Детальніше-Read More