Assembly of Small and Medium Level Business Civic Organizations speak out against repression
The Assembly of Small and Medium Level Business Civic Organizations of Ukraine has issued an appeal regarding repressive measures taken against the Tax Code protesters on Maidan Nezalezhnosti [Independence Square – called by many Maidan 2, it being the most widespread and determined civic protest following the events on Maidan in autumn 2004 – translator). It is addressed to the President, Prosecutor General and to Ukraine’s political parties.
In 2010 radical changes took place in Ukraine. Unfortunately, the proclaimed stability and reforms became the deliberate reduction in the rights and democratic values of civic society, the destruction of small and medium-level business, the transformation of the Ukrainian people into hostages of big business, stripped of their rights, and the country itself – into a raw material appendage to transnational corporations.
The Assembly of Small and Medium Level Business Civic Organizations of Ukraine has since spring 2010 warned the authorities on a number of occasions about such threats and tendencies. Unfortunately our warnings were ignored and we were forced to rise up I defence of our rights over opposition to the Tax Code passed by the government. We established a clear and to this day unchanged position regarding its unacceptability”
The appeal states that those factions in parliament that supported the new Tax Code are part of the ruling coalition. They had the possibility of keeping their pre-election promises, but failed to use it.
The Assembly stresses that all political parties bear responsibility for the political and economic state of the country, which is why it announced protest actions without involving political forces. This it says, as well as it total rejection of the Tax Code, made it possible to unite entrepreneurs from all over Ukraine.
The protests were by means allowed for in Ukraine’s Constitution and legislation. “The coordinated actions of the entrepreneur community were a certain step for all parties of the legislative process and prevented the “accelerated” passing of Housing, Customs and Labour Codes.
Nonetheless, in breach of the Constitution, a campaign was initiated and continues or repression against our activists and partners which the Association has already brought to the attention of the authorities. We are witnessing the escalation of overt provocations generated by people who, in stirring up inter-regional, inter-denominational and language issues, are endeavouring to divert people’s attention away from urgent issues of corruption, harassment of dissidents, attempts to destroy small and medium level business, inflation and rising prices on all things, from food items to communal charges, gas and electricity.
We are also outraged that certain political forces are not abandoning their efforts to use small and medium-level business, the ideas of the “business owners’ Maidan” for cheap personal PR and political points.”
The appeal states that it is because of interference from puppets and adventurers from various political parties that the business owners have not defeated a Tax Code which is against the people. It is through such methods that attempts are being made to divide them and ferment dissent. It is these people who have unlimited access to the media and have discredited Maidan activists, including members of the Assembly”.
The appeal calls on the President and Prosecutor’s Office to defend the people and the Law and to instruct the authorities to stop attempts which are doomed to intimidate the public, Maidan activists and carry out investigations, punishing the real culprits, those who drew up the Tax Code, the Verkhovna Rada deputies who voted for it, despite flagrant violations of legislation in its adoption, the people who authorized the dismantling of the tent city which violated people’s rights and endangered the health of those who were in the tent camp, for example, by bringing them into direct contact with heating devices which could cause burns or a fire, and who destroyed people’s personal belongings.
We demand a stop to persecution of members of the Coordination Council, of activists from the Assembly from Khmelnytski, Luhansk, Lviv, our partners from the Coalition of Participants in the Orange Revolution and Confederation of Free Trade Unions.
We hope that on this occasion high-ranking officials will hear us and that there will be no need to call a new Maidan. We will continue to uphold our rights by any means set down in the Constitution and adequate for the actions of the authorities.
Any encroachments on the individual rights and civil freedoms of Ukrainian citizens will receive adequate assessment and a worthy response from the Assembly of Small and Medium Level Business Civic Organizations of Ukraine
Slightly abridged from the original appeal