Statement of the Kharkov Group for human rights protection


We are shattered with the unprecedented crime against mankind committed by terrorists in the USA and aimed at the peaceful population. Since WW2 the Western world has not seen such a brutal violation of general norms of human morals. The Kharkov Group for human rights protection expresses sincere condolences to families of those, who perished or suffered from this horrible terrorist act. We are sure that this grief and this test will unite the nation even more closely, and the American people, as a result of this tragic situation, will become battle-hardened in the struggle for freedom and democracy. The struggle with the international terrorism as with the Evil, which challenges our civilization, has become the prior joint task of the civilized countries.

Yet, we are disturbed by the anti-Islamic hysteria that is spreading in mass media. Some Russian and Ukrainian political observers openly identify Islam with terror. This may lead to the growth of anti-Islamic moods in the society, to inter-religious and interethnic conflicts. Islam is a great world religion that, in the course of the world history repeatedly demonstrated tolerance and reticence. It gave birth to a number of great scientists and scholars. Terrorist regimes and groups are not the peculiarity of Islamic countries. It will suffice to recollect that communism and nazism appeared inside the Christian civilization, recall the IRA activities, ethnic purges in Croatia and Bosnia, etc.

Spreading anti-Islamic moods is dangerous for our country, since we have areas inhabited by Moslems, for example, the Crimea, who are convinced and conscious citizens of Ukraine.

We are also worried that the world community, under the pretext of the struggle with terrorism, may go to the ungrounded limitations of democratic institutes. This especially concerns the young democracies of Middle and east Europe, where the strengthening of law-enforcing organs may lead to the excessive control and pressure by state on the civil society, which is too young to oppose adequately.

We stress that terrorism cannot be defeated by purely forceful methods. We mush fight with it on the ideological front and, moreover, on the outlook level. The tragedy of the USA must teach tolerance to all of us, for only in this way it is possible to unite all the healthy strata of the world population, including Moslems.

Workers and members of the Kharkov Group for human rights protection

15 September 2001

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