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    March 19, 2014

            Ukraine: Nationalist MP launches brutal attack against TV executive

    A violent attack by a nationalist member of parliament against the head of one of Ukraine’s leading TV channels yesterday must be urgently investigated, and those responsible brought to justice, said Amnesty International.

    Oleksandr Panteleymonov, head of the First National TV Channel, was visited in his offices by Igor Miroshnichenko from the Svoboda (Freedom) Party and at least five thugs who beat him and forced him to write a resignation letter.

    Igor Miroshnichenko is a member of the parliamentary Committee on freedom of speech.

    “It is astonishing that a member of the parliamentary committee on freedom of speech was involved in this attack. The acting authorities must send a signal that this sort of behaviour will not be tolerated in Ukraine,” said Heather McGill, Ukraine researcher at Amnesty International.

    The attackers accused Panteleymonov of working for the Russian authorities after a live broadcast of the signing of the agreement between President Putin, and the de facto Crimean authorities.  

    March 14, 2014

    International human rights monitors must immediately be deployed across Ukraine following reports of increasing violence and disappearances ahead of Sunday’s impromptu referendum that could lead to the secession of the southern Crimea region, said Amnesty International.

    “Parts of the country are on edge and spilling over into violence. With the referendum scheduled in two days’ time, there is no time to lose,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe and Central Asia Director.

    “Amidst heightened tensions in the country and the now fatal violence between pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian groups, the need for a strong human rights monitoring mission with unimpeded access to all parts of Ukraine, including Crimea, is critical.”
    Amnesty International’s call comes after at least one protester was killed amid violent clashes between pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian protesters in the eastern city of Donetsk and news of further disappearances of activists in Crimea itself.

    March 07, 2014

    On 5 March, 100 men who identified themselves as the Crimean Self Defence League forced some 40 women to end their peaceful protest in Crimea’s capital, Simferopol.© VOLODYMYR PETROV/AFP/Getty Images

    With journalists, activists and peaceful protestors facing increasing harassment and intimidation in Crimea, there is an urgent need for a strong international monitoring mission in Ukraine, said Amnesty International.

    It is calling for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to urgently establish a strong international monitoring mission in the country.

    “Attempting to monitor the human rights situation in Crimea has become a near impossible task. Self-styled Crimean self-defence groups are harassing pro-Ukrainian protestors, journalists and human rights monitors with complete impunity,” said John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Director at Amnesty International.

    February 26, 2014
    Ukraine's Berkut riot police were responsible for many instances of use of excessive force amid the recent protests. © Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

    All those responsible for the deaths of more than 100 people killed during the anti-government protests in Ukraine must be brought to justice, said Amnesty International today.

    The call comes as plans were announced to disband the riot police unit that were allegedly responsible for the excessive force used against protesters.

    “Moves to disband the riot police must not be used to allow the perpetrators of crimes off the hook. The Ukrainian authorities must not shirk their responsibility,” said Heather McGill, Amnesty International’s Ukraine researcher.

    “Each and every allegation must be investigated promptly, effectively and independently and any police officers found to be responsible must face criminal prosecution.”

    February 20, 2014

    The shooting of protesters, which is contributing to the spiralling death toll in Kyiv, is deeply troubling and must prompt a swift response to bring all those responsible to justice, Amnesty International urged.

    According to the Ministry of Health, at least 35 people have been killed as a result of the rapid escalation in violence in the past 48 hours, especially in the area around Kyiv’s Maidan Square. The violence has been carried out by some protesters as well as security forces. The Ministry of Interior has separately reported that 20 police officers have died.  

    There is growing evidence from across Ukraine of vigilante groups colluding with the police and reports they may have been responsible for some of the shootings. A number of protesters, medical personnel and journalists clearly not posing a threat to riot police, have been fired on from a distance.   

    February 11, 2014

    Amnesty International is launching a global campaign against police impunity in Ukraine.

    Hundreds of people have been wounded by police, some very seriously, during the EuroMaydan anti-government protests in Kyiv as well as in other cities in Ukraine since 21 November 2013. There have been at least four fatalities. Some protestors have been abducted by unknown assailants and tortured – one was found dead.  

    Amnesty International members and their supporters will bring pressure to bear on the Ukrainian government through letter writing, petitions, public actions and lobbying.

    The campaign is calling for the Ukrainian authorities to take decisive action to demonstrate that arbitrary and abusive use of force and other human rights violations will not be tolerated, and will be dealt with by disciplinary and criminal measures as appropriate.

    January 31, 2014
    The abduction and torture of Ukrainian opposition activist Dmitrii Bulatov is a barbaric act which must be investigated immediately, Amnesty International said today.

    “The Ukrainian authorities must immediately open an investigation into Dmitrii Bulatov's case and bring to justice those who have committed this barbaric act against a prominent protest organiser,” said John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Programme Director at Amnesty International.

    “Dmitrii's horrific story is not unique amongst Euromaydan protestors. A number of similar cases have been reported including the case of Yury Verbytsky who, sadly, did not survive his ordeal.

    “It is very hard to see a way out the current crisis when such horrific abuses against protest organizers are taking place. The authorities must send a strong message to the perpetrators of these appalling acts of violence that there will be no impunity and that they will be held accountable. “

    January 22, 2014

    The use of live ammunition by police in Kyiv would only increase what is already a highly volatile situation, Amnesty International said today after four protesters were killed and the government issued a statement saying that police may start using live ammunition.

    The death of a man after being brutally beaten by two riot police officers is another example of pervasive police impunity in Ukraine.

    “There must be no impunity for law enforcement officers who resort to abusive use of force. We have repeatedly called on the Ukrainian authorities to bring perpetrators to justice, but today’s unlawful violence by the police has led to at least one death. What else needs to happen before police officers are held accountable for human rights violations?” said Heather McGill, Amnesty International's Ukraine expert.

    The Ministry of Internal Affairs has denied that it was using live ammunition but has threatened to use live rounds following the shootings.

    January 16, 2014

    The Ukrainian authorities must lift a temporary ban on demonstrations in the centre of the capital Kyiv and guarantee the rights to freedom of assembly and expression, Amnesty International said.

    “Instead of trying to gag peaceful protesters, the authorities should engage in a dialogue and hear them out. This is legitimate criticism of the government that must be heard,” said Heather McGill, Amnesty International’s researcher on Ukraine.

    “The fact that this ban specifically applies to peaceful demonstrations is a particularly blatant violation of the right to freedom of assembly and undermines the rights of all Ukrainians.”

    In a 6 January decision that has just been made public, the Kyiv administrative court imposed a two-month ban on demonstrations by opposition activists in the city centre. The authorities have yet to enact the ban, which comes after weeks of sustained protests around the city’s central Independence Square (Maydan).

    The ban specifically targets all peaceful assemblies organized by the main opposition political parties.

    December 23, 2013

    Human rights violations against peaceful participants in the demonstrations that have rocked the Ukraine in the past month must be thoroughly investigated, said Amnesty International in a report published today. The organization is concerned that the blanket pardon of protestors arrested in the demonstrations is not used to detract from the abuses carried out by the police    

    “While those accused of criminal and administrative offences during the protests have been pardoned, it does not absolve the Ukrainian authorities from their responsibility for human rights violations that have taken place over the last month,” said Heather McGill, Amnesty International’s researcher on Ukraine.

    “Successive Ukrainian governments have failed to address deeply rooted systemic flaws in policing and the criminal justice system. It is of the utmost importance that the perpetrators of human rights violations must still be held to account.”

    November 30, 2013

    The violent dispersal of demonstrators on Independence Square (Maidan) in the centre of Kyiv on Saturday morning shows a shameful disregard for peoples right to peacefully protest said Amnesty International.

    The organization is calling for a prompt, effective and independent investigation into allegations of abusive use of force by officers from the Berkut riot police force.

    “Inchoosing to violently disperse the demonstration early this morning the Ukrainian authorities are violating the very standards and values towards which they claim to be aspiring,” said Heather McGill, Amnesty International Researcher on Ukraine.

    Shortly before 4 am on 30 November riot police moved in on demonstrators in large numbers. They were preceded by local authority workers in trucks who were bringing equipment to erect thetraditional New Year tree in the square. A Ministry of Interior spokesperson speaking on Channel 5 TV station justified the dispersal of demonstrators claiming that preparation had to be made for the New Year festivities.

    November 19, 2013

    The Ukrainian authorities must make real progress toward elimination of torture and other ill-treatment by law enforcement officials in line with the country’s international obligations, Amnesty International said, ahead of the signing of the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement.

    “Irrespective of the future of the Association Agreement with Ukraine, the EU must go on pushing Ukraine to comply with its international obligations. Ukraine is an important member of the European and international community. The country’s authorities have voluntarily signed up to all major international human rights agreements – the absolute ban on torture among them,” said Heather McGill, Amnesty International’s researcher on Ukraine.

    The Association Agreement offers enhanced cooperation in trade, energy, banking and many other areas, and is based on common values, including “democracy and rule of law, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, [and] good governance”.

    September 06, 2013

    Ukraine’s bid to persuade the European Commission to release the country from its commitment to legislate against homophobia is an unacceptable attempt to deny equal rights in the country, Amnesty International said today.

    “Ukraine cannot pick and choose which citizens should be protected from discrimination. Instead it must honour its commitment to develop a legal framework to combat homophobia and the EU must hold it to that commitment at every opportunity,” said Denis Krivosheev, Europe and Central Asia Deputy Director at Amnesty International.

    On Thursday Ukraine’s Parliamentary Commissioner for Human Rights, Valeriya Lutkowska, announced that she and a number of parliamentarians said they will travel to Brussels to persuade the EU to release the country from its responsibility to legislate against discrimination.

    In June 2013, the Ukrainian government made a commitment to the EU that it would develop a legal framework to protect minorities from discrimination.

    July 13, 2013

    The latest violent reaction to allegations of abuse by Ukraine’s police force underlines the urgent need for the government to address public concern that the force has become little more than a criminal enterprise, Amnesty International said today.

    Hundreds of residents tried to storm  Svatoshyno police station in Kyiv on Friday night. The events were triggered by reports that apolice officer had  punched a young woman in the stomach when she asked him to speak to her in Ukrainian rather than Russian. She was hospitalised with a suspected broken rib after the assault.

    Demonstrators brokethrough the police station's perimeter fence before being pushed back.

    The crowd chanted'Vradiyivka' in reference to protests two weeks ago when residents laid siege to Vradiyivka police station in southern Ukraine. Those angry scenes were sparked by the gang-rape of a 29 year old woman who was beaten and left for dead by three men, two of whom she has identified as local police officers.

    May 27, 2013

    Amnesty International and the organizers of KyivPride 2013 welcome the cooperation and protection provided by the Ukrainian police during Saturday’s first ever successful LGBTI Pride March in Ukraine. The Ministry of Internal Affairs’ recognition and fulfillment of their obligation to protect the right to freedom of peaceful assembly for LGBTI people is an important step in combating discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity in Ukraine.

    However, both Amnesty International and the KyivPride organizers remain concerned that the Kyiv City Council chose to ban the Pride March from the city centre, forcing organizers to change to an alternative location at the last moment and curtailing participant’s right to freedom of peaceful assembly. Amnesty International and the Kyiv Pride organizing committee urge the authorities not to impose such limitations on events where LGBTI people seek to peacefully express their views in future.


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