Ukraine’s European Integration and Human Rights – View from within
Ukraine’s leaders speak of their great expectations from the EU – Ukraine Summit due to take place on 22 November 2010 in Brussels. On the agenda will be the issue of real, not symbolic, facilitation of the visa regime for Ukrainian nationals travelling to European Union countries, possible progress on agreeing the text of the EU – Ukraine Association Agreement, and on a free trade zone; developing bilateral cooperation and sectoral cooperation. Success in Ukraine’s aspirations towards European integration will undoubtedly be the course of many positive developments for all Ukrainian citizens and one can only hope that Ukrainian diplomacy will ensure Ukraine’s progress on the complex and long road to the EU.
Recognition and respect for democracy and human rights are fundamental European values and effective safeguards for their observance hinge on an effective and fair system of justice, public control over the activities of the authorities, the functioning of an independent press, transparency and openness of State institutions; as well as honest electoral systems free from manipulation and rigging.
It is these requirements that Ukraine must meet in order to be accepted into the EU. The Ukrainian authorities declare their commitment to European values yet has the human rights situation in Ukraine improved during the presidency of Viktor Yanukovych? This question will be addressed at a press conference given by independent Ukrainian journalists and human rights activists who are specially travelling to Brussels in order to present another aspect of present Ukrainian reality. They will provide information about killings and unlawful surveillance over journalists, pressure and harassment of human rights activists; flagrant violations of the right to peaceful assembly and the use against civic activists of the worst Soviet methods of punitive psychiatry. This is also contemporary Ukraine which aspires to European security and comfort. Would integration of this Ukraine into united Europe be safe and comfortable for Europeans? What could and should our European partners do to help Ukraine free itself from the legacy of its terrible totalitarian past and achieve real change, and not its imitation, in order to become a fully-fledged part of a united Europe?
Arkadiy Bushchenko, Head of the Board of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
Dmytro Groisman, Coordinator of the Vinnytsa Human Rights Group
Mykola Knyazhytskyy, Director of TV Channel TVi
About the speakers
Arkadiy Bushchenko – bar lawyer, human rights defender; Head of the Board of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union. Arkadiy has successfully represented applicants in dozens of cases against Ukraine in the European Court of Human Rights and is the author of various works monitoring the human rights situation in Ukraine.
Dmytro Groisman – lawyer, human rights defender; Coordinator of the Vinnytsa Human Rights Group which focuses on fighting torture, as well as on refugee and patients’ rights. The Vinnytsa Human Rights Group has on a number of occasions been subjected to pressure and harassment, both under the previous and present regimes. At present, following an unlawful search and the removal of all the organizations’ equipment its activities have been paralyzed.
Mykola Knyazhytskyy is a well-known Ukrainian journalist and the Director of TVi which recently lost the broadcasting rights and most of previously allocated frequencies. Mykola Knyazhytskyy has accused the Ukrainian Security Service [SBU] of unlawful surveillance and intrusion in his private life in 2010.
Press conference languages: English, Ukrainian and Russian
Time 11.00-12:00, 22 November 2010
Location: The Magrette Room, International Press Centre, Rue de la Loi 155 - Bloc C 1040 Brussels, Belgium