OTTAWA, Feb. 18, 2014 /CNW/ - The Ukrainian Canadian Congress is outraged by the decision of the
Ukrainian authorities to use deadly force against peaceful
demonstrators today in Kyiv. The Ukrainian people have been
demonstrating since November in an attempt to convince the government
to return basic human rights and freedoms to its citizens. The response
of the government has been to instigate violence against its own people
on several occasions. Today, demonstrators were blocked in an attempt
to march to Ukraine's parliament to pressure members of parliament to
find a peaceful solution to the crisis in the country. Instead, the
authorities used particularly brutal and deadly force after minor
clashes with demonstrators broke out.
At least nine people have been killed, including 2 police officers.
Hundreds are injured - many of them severely. Ukrainian internal army
and special forces threw sound grenades from rooftops of buildings into
the crowds, beat demonstrators mercilessly, used rubber bullets, and
there are several reports that special forces used snipers with live
ammunition to fire against their own people. Law enforcement worked in
tandem with plainclothes hired thugs who were used to attack
demonstrators. The response of the General Prosecutor, Minister of
Internal Affairs, and other government officials was to blame
demonstrators for the violence and threaten reprisals against those who
organized and took part in the protests.
"The ultimate responsibility for the escalation of tensions, the brutal
violence, and the death of Ukrainian citizens today sits squarely on
President Yanukovych," said Paul Grod, President of the Ukrainian
Canadian Congress. "Yanukovych has once again displayed his utter
contempt and total disregard for the very people whose rights he swore
an oath to protect. Since the beginning of protests in November, the
President has refused to hear his own peoples' calls for the return of
their human dignity, human rights and democracy. The blood of the
Ukrainian people are on the hands of the Victor Yanukovych."
The UCC calls on President Yanukovych to immediately order an end to the
violence, engage in dialogue with Ukrainian civil society and
opposition leaders, return to the people of Ukraine their inalienable
human and democratic rights, and ensure that those ministers, special
forces officers and soldiers responsible for the violence carry
criminal responsibility for their illegal orders and actions.
The Ukrainian Canadian Congress reiterates that the use of violence is
totally unacceptable. The UCC calls on the government of Canada
to immediately institute financial sanctions against the officials in
the Ukrainian government responsible for today's violence;
to ensure that the perpetrators of today's attacks on Ukrainians are
held criminally responsible;
to use its considerable international influence to convince
international partners, in particular the countries of the European
Union, to likewise implement sanctions against those responsible for
the killings and Human Rights abuses;
to immediately send a mission to monitor the developments in Ukraine,
most importantly the situation with human rights.
The UCC once again underlines its complete solidarity with the people of
Ukraine, and their brave struggle to protect their dignity, human
rights, and democracy in Ukraine.
SOURCE: Ukrainian Canadian Congress
For further information:
Taras Zalusky, Executive Director
Ukrainian Canadian Congress