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04.10.2010

Kharkiv authorities concealing criticism from international institutions

   

The notorious events around the building of a road through Kharkiv’s Gorky Park and dispersal of protest against the moves are to be discussed by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe [PACE].

On 5 October PACE is to consider and pass a resolution regarding Ukraine’s honouring of its commitments as a member state of the Council of Europe. The Co-Rapporteurs on Ukraine visit the country regularly as part of their monitoring.

Kharkiv precedent as mirror of democracy in Ukraine

In an interview to the Ukrainian Service of Deutsche Welle, Yevhen Zakharov, Co-Chair of the Kharkiv Human Rights Group, noted that in the explanatory note to the resolution there is an item regarding numerous infringements in Kharkiv during the scandalous construction work and preparatory tree-felling in Gorky Park. “The note lists the violations which numerous organizations and journalists complained of, these being the unlawful felling of over two thousand trees, force used against protesters, the detention of several dozen people. It also mentions the decision by Amnesty International to declare two of the park’s defenders, jailed for several days, prisoners of conscience. The PACE deputies consider it correct to view these questions as symptomatic of the general state of democracy in Ukraine”.

Was the Human Rights Commissioner’s letter ignored?

As reported (see the letter here: http://www.khpg.org/en/index.php?id=1286102470 ), Thomas Hammerberg, Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner, wrote a letter over a month ago expressing concern regarding the “dispersal of protests” over the destruction of a part of Kharkiv’s Gorky Park. 

This was learned only at the weekend when the Internet publication Glavnoye published a scanned copy of the letter with a translation.

Mr Zakharov points out that it is quite unacceptable that international organizations, even Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople should be responding to the situation in Kharkiv, and the public only learn of it via the latter’s official sites or other channels, not from the Kharkiv authorities.

From information at http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,6071232,00.html

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