21.05.2000 | R. Romanov, Sebastopol

The freedom of consciousness is brutally violated in Sebastopol


In several high schools of Sebastopol foreigners teach languages. A Canadian citizen Helen Ray Blackburn had been teaching English during four years in the high school No.3. We know numerous positive opinions of parents and colleagues about Ms. Blackburn. s selfless work. She organized an excursion of her pupils to Canada, where they had the chance to learn about the life of Canadian children and practice in the English language.

However, the security service of Ukraine and Sebastopol prosecutor. s office got interested in the activities of Helen Ray Blackburn. The pretext was that Ms. Blackburn belongs to one of the ramifications of the Protestant church. The security service and the prosecutor. s office started to summon schoolchildren, other teachers and parents for interrogations. The interrogators hinted that Ms. Blackburn propagandizes her religion.

As a result, the Department of Visas and Registration (DVR) in the city of Sebastopol refused to prolong the term of sojourn of Ms. Blackburn in Ukraine. Moreover, without sufficient explanations she was informed on 25 June 1999 that by 4 July she must leave the territory of Ukraine and that her coming to Ukraine is prohibited for five years. The officials from DVR referred to the violation by Ms. Blackburn of Article 24 of the Ukrainian law. On the freedom of consciousness and religious organizations. and Articles 30. 32 of the Ukrainian law. On legal status of foreigners..

We possess the information that during lessons Ms. Blackburn never propagandized her religion. The very atmosphere of suppression, the rude form of communication, the ill-grounded cruel decision are abuses of human rights.

We turn to all human rights protection organizations for support and we ask them, without delay, to send letters with protests to the addresses:

Leonid Kuchma, President of Ukraine

7 Bankova St.

252220, Kyiv, Ukraine

Fax: 044 291 61 61

Leonid Derkach, Head of the security service of Ukraine

33 Volodymirska St.

Kyiv, Ukraine

Fax: 044 226 34 31

Yuri Kravchenko, Minister of Interior of Ukraine

10 Academician Bogomolets St.

252024, Kyiv, Ukraine

Fax: 044 291 17 33

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