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Petition to set up a temporary commission for investigating attacks on civil society activists, journalists and political figures

Petition of the Human Rights Agenda to faction heads of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to set up a temporary commission for investigating attacks on civil society activists, journalists and politicians.


Yesterday, on 4 November 2018, Kateryna Handziuk, civil society activist and official of Kherson City Council’s Executive Committee, died in intensive care after a three-month struggle for life and 15 complex medical operations. She was killed. Those who hired people to pour a liter of sulfuric acid on Kateryna on 31 July in Kherson, burning 40% of her body, finally got what they wanted.

A month before his death, Kateryna Handziuk recorded a video address for the Ukrainian government and the public. In it, she once again raised the issue of poor efforts to investigate the series of attacks on civil society activists and political figures that had been occurring all over the country in 2018. She asked the following questions, which she herself considered rhetorical:

“Who ordered all these attacks? Who is protecting these people? Why are so many investigations getting sabotaged? Why should we stay quiet while the most active of us are getting killed and maimed? Since when has this become the norm?”

We believe that these issues have considerable public significance and demand that Parliament faction heads, in accordance with Article 89 of the Ukrainian Constitution, immediately set up a temporary commission of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to investigate attacks against civil society activists, journalists and political figures that occurred in various Ukrainian regions over the past two years.

We consider it necessary to allow representatives of NGOs that deal with these issues in their work to participate in the commission’s meetings.

It is based on actions, not words, that we will be evaluating the sincerity of statements made by Parliament faction heads and other high officials regarding the certainty of punishment for people guilty of persecuting civil society.

The Human Rights Agenda Platform is an informal coalition of human rights organizations that deal with systemic issues of legislation and practice to protect fundamental human rights. The Platform includes the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, Center for Civil Liberty, Amnesty International Ukraine, Human Rights Information Center, Center of Law Enforcement Activities Research, the No Borders Project and Euromaidan SOS. The Platform’s coordinator is the Center for Civil Liberty. Contacts: human.rights.agenda.ua@gmail.com

Center for Civil Liberties
Crimea SOS
Vostok SOS charitable foundation
Media Initiative for Human Rights
Eastern Ukrainian Center for Civic Initiatives
UMDPL Association

Human Rights Initiative
Ukrainian Institute for Human Rights
Helsinki Initiative XXI
Human Rights Information Center
Human Rights Platform
Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
Luhansk Region Human Rights Center “Alternative”
Institute of Mass Information
NGO Shore of Peace
Agency for Legislative Initiatives/Ukrainian School of Political Studies
Anticorruption Action Center
Expert Center for Human Rights
Ternopil Human Rights Group
Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group
Kharkiv Institute of Social Researches
All-Ukrainian Association AutoMaidan

Ukrainian Legal Aid Foundation
Kharkiv Oblast Foundation “Public Alternative”
DEJURE Foundation
NGO Dyvovyzhni
Ukrainian Legal Consulting Group
NGO Nebaiduzhi
All-Ukrainian Public Association OPIRORG
The “Declaration of the Concerned” Initiative
Media Detector
Regional Center for Human Rights
NGO Human Rights Vector
NGO KyivPride
Community Foundation Sumy
NGO City of the Smart
NGO Sumy Oblast Fraternity of Students
Center for Social Partnership
NGO Human Rights Protection
Coalition of NGOs “Ternopil Center for Reforms”
NGO CentreUA
NGO Center for Public Monitoring and Analytics
Crimean Human Rights Group

Human Rights House Chernihiv

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