STATEMENT OF THE KHARKIV HUMAN RIGHTS PROTECTION GROUP REGARDING POLITICAL EVENTS IN UKRAINE
In view of the unfolding political situation in Ukraine the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHRG) considers it necessary to make the following statement.
We have reliable information about an unprecedented number of violations of electoral legislation in the Kharkiv region and other regions of the country during the second round of elections for President of Ukraine. We will be providing a detailed list and analysis of these violations in accordance with the Law later. However we are already in a position to state that in the vast majority of cases the violations were carried out by representatives of the regimes candidate.
The violations of electoral legislation were of an unashamedly open and cynical nature. They were accompanied by pressure on members of election commissions, independent observers, representatives of press and television. It is, regrettably, impossible to regards these violations as isolated or occasional. One has the impression that all of them had been planned out in advance as part of the regimes strategic plan to carry out mass falsification of the results of the presidential elections, and, effectively a constitutional coup.
We consider that during the second round of elections, technology was used which in substance and form were criminal acts which are directly covered by the Criminal Code of Ukraine. These violations can in no be way be reconciled with international legislation or European standards on human rights and democracy, set out in such documents as the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (1950), the Document of the Copenhagen Council of the Conference on the Human Dimension of the CSCE, the Paris Charter for a New Europe (1990) and others.
We would draw attention to Article 3 of the Constitution of Ukraine which clearly states: «Human rights and freedoms and their guarantees determine the essence and orientation of the activity of the State. The State is answerable to the individual for its activity. To affirm and ensure human rights and freedoms is the main duty of the State».
It should also be remembered that, in accordance with the Constitution of Ukraine «The people are the bearers of sovereignty and the only source of power in Ukraine. The people exercise power directly and through bodies of state power and bodies of local self-government» (Article 5).
In this decisive moment for Ukraines future we would also affirm that fundamental civil rights may also be protected by means of a democratic uprising which is an albeit extreme, but entirely legitimate element of world constitutional culture.
As is well-known, democratic uprisings are directly foreseen in Article 20 of the Constitution of German from 1949, which stipulates the right of German citizens to resist any attempts to encroach upon their democratic way of life, if no other means are available.
In Article 23 of the Constitution of the Czech Republic (1992), it is stipulated that citizens have the right to resist encroachments upon the democratic principles of human rights and fundamental freedoms, if the activity of constitutional bodies or the active use of legal norms have become possible in the country.
The legitimacy of democracy uprisings for the purpose of defending ones rights and freedoms is also stipulated in Article 120 of the Constitution of Greece (1975), Article 32 of the Constitution of Slovakia (1991), Article 54 of the Constitution of Estonia (1992) and in Article 3 of the Constitution of Lithuania (1992), etc.
The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group would once again stress that the highest value of constitutionalism and a society based on law is the political freedom of the people. It is precisely the freedom of the peoples expression of their will which constitutes the main theme of the 1996 Constitution of Ukraine.
We declare our total support for those Ukrainian citizens gathered on Independence Square in Kyiv.
We have confidence that the leaders of the opposition will show wisdom and that the people will restore truth and freedom in the nearest future without bloodshed on either side.
We trust in the reasoned response of the Ukrainian parliament – the Verkhovna Rada – and would express the hope that in this vital moment for Ukraine it will find adequate legal measures to react ad hoc to the situation, and will be able to resolve the conflict through legislative means.
We hope also for an adequate and humane reaction to the events from the guarantor of the Ukrainian Constitution – the President of Ukraine.
We stress that the restriction on the right to freedom of movement of Ukrainian citizens, which is in these very movements being imposed around the capital of Ukraine – Kyiv – is illegal. Such a restriction can be applied only in a state of emergency which must be declared by Decree of the President of Ukraine, with notification sent to the UN, and which is only valid if confirmed by the Supreme Court of Ukraine.
We believe that the political freedom of the Ukrainian people will in the nearest future be restored by legal means and that truth will prevail.Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group
23 November 2004