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01.09.2006

Ukrainian Civic Forum created

   

On Thursday 31 August 2006, a press conference took place at the Kharkiv Press Club to announce the creation of the Ukrainian Civic Forum (UCF) – the first association of civic networks, movements and organizations from different regions of Ukraine into one network to work together in upholding the interests of civic society.

During the press conference, Yury Chumak, Deputy Editor of the Bulletin of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group “Prava Ludyny” [“Human Rights”] and Mykhailo Khamchatny, Chair of the Kharkiv Regional Branch of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine elaborated on the reasons for the Forum and its plans, and made public the UCF Declaration of principles for civic action

Similar press conferences were held at the same time in Kyiv, Luhansk, Kherson, Lviv, Chernihiv, Vinnytsa, Sumy, Donetsk and in other Ukrainian cities.

Georgy Kobzar

DECLARATION OF THE UKRAINIAN CIVIC FORUM

At the end of 2004 Ukrainians stood up for their rights as a freedom-loving people. A revolution had indeed taken place – in people themselves. Many had lost their fear of the regime or of the opposition. Today a great many people on both sides of the Dnipro are conscious of being citizens who want their role in building their own shared future.

The Ukrainian political elite as so many times before proved unworthy of their own nation. It is not political parties that are represented in the Verkhovna Rada  but groups serving oligarch or other corporate interests. Lack of control by citizens can only fuel their lack of responsibility. Outside Parliament there are also no political parties capable of defending national interests and changing the existing foundations of Ukrainian politics.

National interests are the interests of all of us. We ourselves need to create the mechanisms for defending, coordinating and bringing to fruition these interests. It is only individuals who are free, self-sufficient and aware of their responsibility, by joining together in ever-active civic communities, who can create such mechanisms and renew the true essence of power. Only a society which is self-organized and capable of self-development can become free and withstand fierce competition in today’s aggressive world.

In recognition of the desire of Ukrainian citizens to build their own society, we would propose the following principles for a civic society.

  • The state is the result of citizens’ organizing themselves. Society should develop not as the state deems necessary, but in accordance with the needs of its citizens. Only a self-organized society is capable of achieving its own needs.
  • The rule of law and an independent judiciary are crucial. The state must be governed by the power of the law and not the power of force. Neglect of the law and lack of respect for the justice system lead to chaos in society and destroy the institutional basis of the state.
  • Public participation in decision-making.  Civic society is not possible without structures which safeguard the participation of individuals and their associations in decision-making. All elements of state administration must be guided by citizens’ interests, needs and objectives.
  • .Honesty, consistency, responsibility and patriotism are the basis for civic policy. Politicians should represent citizens’ interests. None of their moves should diverge from the principles and platform that they declare. Irresponsible words and actions should be grounds for their resignation or dismissal.
  • Effective public control over the actions of the authorities. The weaker this control is the stronger corruption becomes. Only control from responsible individuals and their associations can be truly effective.
  • Observance of civic liberties – freedom of information, of expression, of the press, the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of association. We have the right to information in accordance with international standards. The right of citizens to give their opinion of the authorities, to publicly discuss any issues means that the authorities also have the duty to listen and to respond.  Any state official encroaching upon rights and freedoms or ignoring public opinion should be immediately removed from office.

With our aim being to consolidate these principles of civic society, to change the fundamental nature of the power structure, and to compel the authorities to meet the needs of their citizens, we are launching the Ukrainian Civic Forum as an association of free and responsible individuals and their communities on the basis of civic action.

  • Recognized, voluntary, responsibility. We are aware that none of us will do what we want, if we don’t do it ourselves. However we would not demand the fulfilment of any commitments not made voluntarily.
  • Solidarity, non-violence, tolerance. Our actions are based on mutual trust, mutual respect and mutual assistance. We categorically reject violence as a means of action.  Racial, ethnic, religious, political or any other form of intolerance is inadmissible.
  • Honesty, objectivity, reliability. It is unacceptable to think one thing and say something else. Our principle must be “to speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”, even if this is not in our favour.
  • Openness, transparency. Our aims and actions are transparent and clear, the sources of funding and expenditure are open to the public.
  • Independence from political platforms. Our activity is undertaken on the basis of honest cooperation between people with different worldviews and political opinions which are not in conflict with civic principles.  The Ukrainian Civic Forum will not support any party platform in electoral campaigns, and political choice is purely an individual matter. We will cooperate only with those politicians who share and implement our principles.

A cordial invitation to work with us to all who endorse our stated principles and aim, and who can contribute even a tiny amount of effort to ensuring that Ukrainian society becomes truly CIVIC

The Ukrainian Civic Forum has been created through the initiative of the following well-known civic figures from all over Ukraine

 

 

Simferopol

Volodymyr Prytula

The Committee on Monitoring Press Freedom in the Crimea

 

Zhmerynka

Oleh Levchenko

Head of the Board of the civic organization “Initiative”

 

Dnipropetrovsk

Viktor Zhykh

Marketing consultant for the Ukrainian Aerosol Association

 

Kryvy Rig

Mykola Korobko

Head of the Kryvy Rig branch of the All-Ukrainian Association “Prosvita”  [“Enlightenment”] named in honour of Taras Shevchenko and Head of the Ukrainian Environmental Association  "Zeleny svit" [“Green World”]

 

Donetsk

Oleksandr Bukalov  

Chair of the Council of the human rights organization “Donetsk Memorial”

 

Donetsk

Serhiy Tkachenko

Head of the Donetsk Branch of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine

 

Donetsk

Yakiv Rohalin

The Foundation “DOBROTA” [“Kindness”]

 

Kyiv

Volodymyr Bondarenko

Head of the Secretariat of the civic association “Kyiv Community Voice”

 

Kyiv

Volodymyr Horbach

Chair of the Expert Council of the Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation

 

Kyiv

Oles Doniy

Director of the Centre for research on political values

 

Kyiv

Volodymyr Martynyuk

Public liaison coordinator of the “Maidan” Civic Alliance

 

Kyiv

Anatoly Pinchuk

President of the Ukrainian Centre for the Development of Foreign Economic Relations

 

Kyiv

Pavlo Sheremeta

Dean of the Kyiv-Mohyla Business School

 

Kyiv

Yury Shkarlat  

Coordinator for the assistance program for Ukraine’s Parliament

 

Luhansk

Laris Zalyvna

Head of the Board of the Luhansk Regional civic human rights women’s organization “Chaika” and Secretary for the Luhansk Coalition “Citizens for transparency of the authorities”

 

Luhansk

Mykola Kozyryev

Chair of the Luhansk Civic Committee for the Protection of Constitutional Rights and Civil Liberties

 

Krasnodon

Dmytro Kalitventsev

Head of the Independent Miners Trade Union named after M.P. Barakov, Coordinator of the Luhansk Coalition “Citizens for transparency of the authorities”

 

Lviv

Taras Voznyak

Chief Editor of the Ukrainian cultural independent journal “J”

 

Lviv

Teodor Dyakiv  

Head of the Association of taxpayers of the Lviv region

 

Lviv

Ihor Markov

Head of the Centre for the support of private initiative

 

Lviv

Oleh Matsekh

Chair of the coordination council of the Lviv Civic Forum

 

Odessa

Andriy Tolopilo

Head of the Board of the Odessa Human Rights Group “Veritas”

 

Kremenchuk

Mykola Feldman  

Head of the NGO “For the rights of each of us”

 

Rivne

Ruslan Kraplych

President of the West Ukraine Centre for Social Partnership

 

Sumy

Oleksiy Zakharchenko

Head of the Sumy Branch of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine, Editor of the newspaper “Youth.UA”

 

Sumy

Hryhory Sakhnyuk

Head of the Sumy regional committee of youth organizations

 

Sumy

Anna Fedoryna

Head of the Sumy regional organization “Sumy press club”, journalist for the newspaper “Ukraina moloda” [“Young Ukraine”].

 

Konotop

Volodymyr Ponomarenko

Head of the regional branch of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine, Head of the Konotop Society of Consumers and Taxpayers “Dignity”

 

Chortkiv

Oleksandr  Stepanenko

Head of the Environmental Civic Organization "Zeleny svit" [“Green World”], Deputy of the Ternopil Regional Council

 

Kharkiv

Yevhen Zakharov

Co-Chair of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, Head of the Board of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, member of the Board of the International Society “Memorial”

 

Kharkiv

Mykhailo Khamchatny

Chair of the Kharkiv Regional Branch of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine

 

Kharkiv

Yury Chumak

Deputy Editor of the bulletin of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group “Prava Ludyny”

 

Kherson

Oksana Akharkova

Member of the Board of the Kherson Regional Centre “Uspishna zhinka” [“Successful woman”]

 

Kherson

Natalya Bimbiraite

Head of the Executive Committee of the Kherson Regional Fund for Charity and Health, member of the Board of the Kherson City Association of Journalists “Pivden” [“South”], Editor of the newspaper “Vhoru” [“Upwards”]

 

Kherson

Dementiy Byely

Head of the Kherson regional organization of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine

 

Kherson

Anna Tyutynnyk

President of the Kherson Regional Fund for Charity and Health, member of the Board of the Kherson City Association of Journalists “Pivden”, writer (member of the National Union of Writers of Ukraine), Chief Editor of the newspaper “Vhoru”.

 

Chernihiv

Serhiy Burov

Chair of the coordination council of the civic organization “M’ART”

38.

Chernihiv

Oleksandr Pomako

Coordinator of the Civic Network “OPORA”

 

What is missing at present In order to achieve the real development of Ukrainian democracy is affirmation of the idea of civic unity.  This is attainable only by in-depth work with members of the public by creating new social links on a civic basis and by means of self-organization of a public system from the grassroots up.

Grounds for optimism can be found in the appearance in Ukraine of a qualitatively new form of civic activity.  Examples of this can be seen in the civic campaign “Pora” in 2004, “Opora”, the Lviv Civic Forum, the “Maidan” Alliance, the Kyiv Rescue Forum, the Kyiv Community Voice, “Night Watch” (Sumy) and many others.

The civic movement is gathering strength and influence by creating a reliable system of communication between different networks and organizations from all corners of Ukraine which are beginning to act together. Such a network (civic community) while not aspiring to direct power, will provide for the authorities tasks and will monitor their implementation.  It is precisely this kind of network that the Ukrainian Civic Forum is determined to become, serving an example through its leaders and activists and demonstrating to the public the possibility for self-organization in order to achieve specific goals and resolve specific problems.

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