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Human Rights Watch: in Ukraine, the number of attacks on activists has increased

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During 2018, the number of attacks on activists and critics of the government in Ukraine increased.

This is reported by Human Rights Watch in the 2019 World Report.

The Ukrainian authorities have done little to prevent or punish the attackers and put an end to the increase in violence against minorities, in particular against the gypsies of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people (LGBT). The government continued to restrict media activities and freedom of speech and information, justifying the need to resist Russian military aggression in eastern Ukraine and anti-Putin propaganda.

“Ukraine is derogating from human rights obligations,” said Rachel Denber, deputy director of Human Rights Watch for Europe and Central Asia. On the eve of elections in Ukraine, voters should carefully weigh their expectations on how elected representatives and authorities will protect and enforce rights of all people, and think about the dangers of a lack of government response to nationalist violence. ”

On 674 pages of the 29th edition of the World Report (2019), Human Rights Watch reviews the practice of applying human rights in more than 100 countries around the world. In an introductory essay, executive director Kenneth Roth points out that populists who spread hatred and intolerance in many countries face resistance. Thanks to new ties between respect for human rights by governments, often with the support of social organizations and society, authoritarian regimes are paying an increasing price for abuse. Such successes exemplify opportunities to protect human rights — and are bound to do so — even in troubled times.

During 2018, in several Ukrainian cities, representatives of the groups that propagandized hatred and discrimination against minorities, in particular against the Roma and LGBT people, committed dozens of violent attacks, threats or intimidation. In most cases, the police did not respond properly or did not conduct an effective investigation. One of the few criminal cases for such a crime was initiated in connection with an attack on a gypsy camp on the outskirts of Lviv, during which one person was killed and several residents were seriously injured. The trial of the criminals began in October.

The authorities did not conduct effective investigations into the numerous attacks on human rights defenders, anti-corruption and other public activists. In November 2018, anti-corruption activist Yekaterina Gandzyuk died from burn wounds caused during the July attack on her.

Despite the promises of President Poroshenko to withdraw the law adopted in March 2017, which requires anti-corruption activists and journalists to file public declarations about their personal conditions, it continues to be in force. Many of the activists refused to follow the requirements of this law.

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) further denies that, in the period 2014-2016, she detained 18 civilians in secret isolation ward of the Kharkov Directorate of the SBU.

In the Russian-occupied Crimea, the Russian authorities persecuted the Crimean Tatars for openly criticizing the occupation, accusing them of terrorism and incitement to crime. The Russian occupation authorities subjected the Crimean Tatars to harassment and detention, carried out searches in their homes.

In December, a court sentenced human rights lawyer Emil Kurbedinov to five days of arrest for repost on social networks with a video of the Islamic organization Hizb ut-Tahrir. Kurbedinov provides legal assistance to the Crimean Tatars and people of other nationalities who are facing politically motivated criminal charges. Kurbedin reposted the video in 2013, that is, before the Russian occupation of the Crimea. Hizb ut-Tahrir is banned in Russia as a terrorist organization, but in Ukraine it acts legally.

For the fifth year in the east of Ukraine, the armed conflict between the Ukrainian government forces and the pro-Russian armed groups has continued. The shelling along the line of contact, which divides the parties to the conflict, destroys civilian homes and infrastructure and threatens the lives of civilians. The Ukrainian authorities are pursuing a discriminatory policy with regard to residents of the pro-Russian armed groups controlled by the territory of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, because in order to receive pensions and other payments due to them, people are forced to register as internally displaced persons.

At the end of November, martial law was introduced for 30 days in 10 regions of Ukraine bordering Russia. These measures were taken after a collision between ships of the two countries in the Sea of ​​Azov, when Russian ships attacked three vessels of the Ukrainian fleet near the Kerch Strait, allegedly through their illegal entry into the territorial waters of the Russian Federation and captured 24 Ukrainian sailors. For 30 days, martial law was lifted.

Recall that the international human rights organization Amnesty International claims that in 2018 the Ukrainian authorities failed to prevent the violation of human rights and to conduct effective investigations of attacks on activists and members of national minorities.

Information taken from: https://golos.ua/i/660234