Statement from the union “Civic Watch” on the violation of freedom of speech in the Nikopol City Council
On 26 January 2007 during the reading by Deputy of the Nikopol City Council and Head of the union
“Civic Watch”, Yury Babynyn, of a statement from an organization defending the environmental rights of residents, the City Mayor Serhiy Starun rudely interrupted him and helped by the Party of the Regions majority, stopped him from continuing and closed the meeting.
Given that, in accordance with Article 19.4 of the Law “On the status of deputies of local councils”, a deputy has the right to present at meetings of the council or its bodies appeals, statements, proposals from members of the public or from their associations, which are of public importance, “Civic Watch” considers the cynical and unashamed disregard for the rights of a deputy and freedom of speech within the City Council to be a grave violation of democratic rights and liberties, norms of the law and elementary morality, and an open demonstration of intolerance to alternative or critical views of the public.
“Civic Watch” declares that the establishment of totalitarian trends and lawlessness in Nikolopol is unacceptable, whether from the City Mayor S, Starun or from deputy factions who have forgotten their intention to serve the interests of the democratic development of the territorial community, this arousing deep distrust in society regarding the promises of their political leaders.
We demand observance of the law and public order in the work of the City Council, respect for human rights and the opinion of civic organizations. We call on all democratic forces represented in the Nikopol City Council to condemn this incident where freedom of speech and access to public opinion were restricted as running counter to the needs of civic society and a law-based state.
Information Centre of the union “Civic Watch”