Statement by the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group concerning the political events in Ukraine (as of 23 November 2004)


In view of the way the political situation in Ukraine is developing, the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KhPG) feels obliged to state the following:

We have the reliable information about an unusually high number of violations of the election law in the Kharkiv region and other regions of the country during the run-off presidential election. We will present a detailed list and analysis of those violations later, according to the law. Nevertheless, we already can testify that supporters of the candidate backed by the authorities carried out the overwhelming majority of the actions. 

The violations of the election law were bluntly cynical and undisguised. They were accompanied with the pressure over members of election commissions, independent monitors, members of the press and TV. Unfortunately, we cannot consider those violations occasional or isolated. We have an impression that all of them were foreseen beforehand as a part of the authorities’ strategic plan providing for mass fraud over the results of the presidential election – in effect, the constitutional d’etat.

We believe, during the run-off, the technologies used were in substance and form criminal acts, directly regulated by the Ukraine’s Criminal Code. Those violations in no way correspond with the international law, European standards of human rights and democracy, expressed in such documents as the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, Document of the Copenhagen Meeting of the Conference on the 1990 Human Dimension at the CSCE, 1990 Paris Chart for New Europe, etc.

We claim that in Ukraine «rights and freedoms and their guarantees define the content and direction of the state’s activity. The state is responsible for its actions before a person. The main responsibility of the state is establishment and provision of human rights and freedoms» (Article 3 of the Ukraine’s Constitution).

Reminder: according to the Ukraine’s Constitution, «the people is an undertaker of the sovereignty and source of the power in Ukraine,» which «performs the power directly and through agencies of state authorities and agencies of local government» (Article 5).

 In this special political moment for Ukraine we also assert that the protection of fundamental civil rights can be as well carried out by the use of democratic uprising, which is an extreme, but entirely legitimate element of the world constitutional culture.

 It is widely known that the democratic uprising is provided for in the 1949 German’s Constitution, which secures the right of German citizens to resist anyone, who would venture to encroach on their democratic way of life, in case when other means could not be used.

Article 23 of the 1992 Czech Constitution says that citizens have right to resist encroachments on the democratic principles of human rights and fundamental freedoms, in case when work of the constitutional bodies or active use of legal norms would become impossible in the country.

The legitimacy of the democratic uprising aiming at the protection of citizens’ rights and freedoms is also mentioned in Article 120 of the 1975 Greece’s Constitution, Article 32 of the 1991 Slovakia’s Constitution, Article 54 of the 1992 Estonia’s Constitution, Article 3 of the 1992 Lithuania’s Constitution, etc.

The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group once again stresses that the highest value of the constitutionalism and rule of law state is political freedom of the people. The freedom of the people’s will constitutes the main content of the 1996 Ukraine’s Constitution. 

We declare our full support of the actions on the part of the Ukrainian citizens on the Independence Square in Kyiv.

We believe that leaders of the opposition will prove their wisdom and the people will restore truth and freedom in the near future and without intolerable sacrifices by the both sides.

We believe in the reason of the Ukraine’s Parliament – the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine – and express our hope that in this crucial time for Ukraine it will find adequate legal measures ad hoc and manage to settle the conflict by legislative means.

We also believe in the adequate humane reaction to the events by the Guarantor of the Ukraine’s Constitution – the President of Ukraine.

We stress that the restriction of freedom of movement for the Ukrainian citizens, which takes place these days and hours around the Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv is illegal. It can be used exclusively in the state of emergency, which is announced by a decree of the President of Ukraine and informed to the UN and is legitimate only when it is confirmed by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

We believe that the political freedom of the Ukrainian people will be restored in the near future by the legal means, and truth, therefore, will prevail.

  Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group

23 November 2004

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