• Topics / Freedom of peaceful assembly
• Topics / Law enforcement agencies
Flagrant violations of key human rights
On 11 May the political opposition, headed by Yulia Tymoshenko, decided to hold a rally in Kyiv to protest against the actions of the government and President Yanukovych. Members of the Bloc of Y. Tymoshenko [BYuT], VO “Svoboda” and other opposition forces from various regions of the country planned to travel to Kyiv, trying to hire coaches and private vans.
Not all were able to do this, with the same things happening in various parts of the country. As the Kharkiv regional branch of the party “Reform and Order” recounts, 11 transport hire companies refused to contract agreements with them. They cited threats from DAI [the traffic police] that they would not receive licences for 2011.
We have received similar reports from Lviv, Khmelnytsky, Poltava and Kremenchuk, while the Ternopil regional branch of BYuT has also complained of pressure on transport hire companies. The leadership of VO “Svoboda” in the Lviv region reported that from Lviv 400 people where supposed to set off in eight coaches, yet only five got to Kyiv and that was with great difficulty. Coaches also did not set off from Stryj, Drohobych, Skope. Those who could, got to Kyiv on normal transport.
It is also know that in Kharkiv DAI officers removed the technical plates [i.e. MOT] from 2 minivan drivers who were supposed to transport 35 BYuT members to Kyiv.
The identical nature of the bans and obstructions throughout Ukraine give grounds for assuming that the instructions came from Kyiv.
Such actions by the Ministry of Internal Affairs are a flagrant violation of Article 42 of the Constitution regarding the right to carry out business activities, as well as fundamental rights to freedom of speech and freedom of peaceful assembly.
Violations of fundamental rights and freedoms are unprecedented in Ukraine over the last five years and entirely inappropriate from the point of commonsense.
In this way the introduction of censorship on television channels and flagrant violations of fundamental civil rights are developing into an extremely dangerous number of events which, if they continue in this fashion, will leave Ukraine outside the civilized world. No Ukrainian government can have an interest in this prospect.