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04.12.2010

“New Citizen” Appeal against the Dismantling of the Protesters’ tents on Maidan

   

Members of Ukrainian society have reacted with outrage against the forced removal of the tent camp of Tax Code protesters on Maidan Nezalezhnosti [Independence Square] in Kyiv. 

The following statement was issued by the “New Citizen” organization”:

As Ukrainian citizens we protest against the brutal dismantling of the tent city set up by small business owners [protesting against the new Tax Code] on Maidan. We deem such a step by the authorities to be a continuation of the dismantling of democracy.

Despite the introduction of some amendments to the Tax Code, reducing its repressive nature, we believe the hasty and behind the scenes adoption of a faulty law, without taking the position of the public into account, to be unacceptable.  We would stress that this is a consequence of the secretive and non-public policy of the authorities which, in taking such important decisions, ignores the views of the people.

We are convinced that any reforms must be a reaction to socially significant issues, a joint response, the drawing up of which entails taking the interests of many social groups into consideration.

Due to the incompetent actions of the Cabinet of Ministers tens of thousands of Ukrainian citizens, having dropped everything, have been forced to stand for hours or even round the clock on squares, defending their right to work, to a decent life in their own country. It is clear already now that such a government has no right to trust, and must resign.

Yet the Tax Code is not the only problem of our State policy. It has merely become a kind of litmus test highlighting its results. Such problems arise due to the lack of will or incompetence of the Verkhovna Rada and the Cabinet of Ministers to draw up and introduce State policy in keeping with the interests of most Ukrainian citizens. We must state that the leaders of the country work solely for themselves and for particular groups of big business. All of the present system of power is directed at concentrating the wealth of the country in the hands of a few at the expense of the majority of Ukrainians.

In addition to the reduction in such democratic liberties as freedom of speech and freedom of peaceful assembly, the authorities are encroaching on the social rights of Ukrainians: the right to work; the right to housing; the right to a decent standard of living which are the basis for the well-being of each Ukrainian family. They are planning to lower social standards via the adoption of unpopular Tax, Housing and Labour Codes. If we do not see any positive moves than soon various social groups after each vote in the Verkhovna Rada will be forced to go out onto Maidan demanding a veto.

We declare our readiness to support reform in Ukraine and take responsibility for them. We are ready to pay higher taxes, but we must know everything about how the money is spent. We are ready to receive less social guarantees, but on condition that the authorities begin qualitative changes on themselves.

-          That they carry out administrative reform, decentralization, bring in fair administrative procedure and access to public information;

-          That they reduce public expenditure on administration, carry out reform of the system of social security and pensions;

-          That they pass effective anti-corruption laws and implement them, including control over the income and expenditure of all public officials and political figures; make all public expenditure and state procurement transparent, and make it impossible for big business to avoid taxation through placing their capital in offshore zones.

In order to demand anything from the public, the authorities must themselves become transparent and controllable.

We call on all citizens of Ukraine to continue upholding their stand, to organize themselves into territorial communities and civic organizations, to carry out strict public control over the authorities at all levels,

With this open appeal we call on all citizens without any political or other dividing lines to begin open discussion regarding the values and principles of creating State policy in Ukraine, and the authorities to real, not simulated, dialogue with civil society.

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