Lukashenko not welcome here!!!
Open Appeal regarding proposed attendance by Alexander Lukashenko of the Euro 2012 Final in Kyiv
Ukrainian human rights and civic activists, together with other concerned citizens, are concerned over the planned visit by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko to Kyiv on 1 July 2012. It has been learned that Lukashenko is to attend the final game of the UEFA Euro 2012 Championship in Kyiv. This was announced at a press conference given by Valentin Velichko, the Belarusian Ambassador to Ukraine. He explained that Lukashenko would be coming at the invitation of President Yanukovych, and that they had asked and were hoping for a formal meeting with Yanukovych.
In solidarity with the people of Belarus and upholding human rights that are universal to all people regardless of country of residence, we appeal to heads of state, diplomats, representatives of international organizations to prevent this shameful visit by Lukashenko to Ukraine.
Belarusian civil society and human rights defenders are suffering from the brutality of the country’s leadership for their defence of human rights. The Belarusian authorities are using increasingly repressive measures - brutal dispersal of peaceful assemblies, persecution of journalists and opposition politicians, imprisonment of human rights defenders. It is only through the unconditional release of all political prisoners, the removal of repressive measures, support for independent media and civil society, respect for rule of law, free and competitive elections that Belarus’ leaders will earn the right to a place among European colleagues.
European Union leaders have repeatedly expressed their concern over Lukashenko’s policies and have imposed sanctions against individuals who bear direct responsibility for human rights violations in the country, and against Belarusian companies that support Lukashenko’s government and receive profit from such support. The European community unanimously condemned the death penalty carried out against Dmitry Konovalov and Vladislav Kovalev who had been convicted of the bombing of the Minsk subway on April 11, 2011. Belarus remains the only country in Europe where such inhuman kind of punishment as the death penalty is still applied.
We express our concern about Lukashenko’s visit to Kyiv and to the Euro 2012 final, as well as over any meeting with Ukraine’s President, which might be seen as acceptance of Alexander Lukashenko as a colleague by the leaders of other European countries attending the game. We call upon heads of state, diplomats, heads of international organizations to immediately contact the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych and demand that he withdraw Lukashenko’s invitation to the Final game of the Euro 2012 Football Championship. Should Yanukovych refuse to withdraw the invitation, we urge political leaders, diplomats and representatives of international organizations to boycott the Final at the Olimpiyskiy Stadium so as to not sit next to a head of state who flagrantly violates human rights and ignores international agreements.
The Association of Ukrainian Human Rights Monitors on Law-enforcement UMDPL)
The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union”
The Foundation of Regional Initiatives
The Centre for Civil Liberties
The Debate Academy