Statement of human rights organizations on the situation of anti-Semitism in Ukraine in the context of civil protest campaign
In recent weeks in local and international media appeared publications describing the level of anti-Semitism in Kyiv and Ukraine as extreme. Often such conclusions are made on the basis of statements of various public actors representing, as they say, different Jewish organizations. In almost all these statements they argue that there is some connection between the alleged raise of ‘anti-Semitism’ and the civil protest campaign (Euromaidan) that has been going on for over two month. Various media seriously consider the question whether we should expect pogroms soon, and diplomatic structures of various countries send different appeals demanding reaction.
Spread of such information and statements in media, in our opinion, deceives the audience particularly if the latter does not possess true information about the situation in Ukraine, and creates inadequate atmosphere of panic in the Jewish community.
Because situation in Ukraine draws attention of the entire world today and truly concerns people, even though not because of the imaginary splash of anti-Semitism but because of the mass violations of the human rights and civil liberties of citizens by the state and law enforcement bodies, we think it is important to clarify the situation.
1. According to the systematic monitoring of xenophobia that has been performed by our organizations for many years, the level of anti-Semitic incidents has been steadily low (especially in comparison with other European countries). For the past two months no splashes of anti-Semitism in the context of the civil protest campaign were documented.
2. The only exceptions are two attacks on religious Jews that took place on January 11 and 17 in Kyiv, near Rosenberg Synagogue. In their claims some public actors speaking on behalf of the Jewish organizations directly linked the attacks with the civil protest campaign, and its participants were accused of anti-Semitic violence. We find it important to state that there are absolutely no grounds for such claims. Due to the passive behavior and negligent style of the investigative actions of the police in the framework of the criminal procedure of the attacks, until now there is no any information on potential perpetrators. Some representatives of the Jewish community tend to think that the accidents on January 11 and 17 were organized as provocations in the framework of the campaign to discredit political opposition and participants of the civil protests.
3. We claim that supporters of the ruling political forces lead a systematical propaganda campaign aimed at discrediting political opposition and participants of the civil protests by spreading false information about mass protests, waves of extremism and, in particular, ‘splash of anti-Semitism in Ukraine’ caused by Euromaidan activities. This campaign is an important part of the propaganda aspect of the forced suppression of the protest movement. Under the pretext of the necessity to fight intolerance and fascism on January 16 the ruling party, with the gross procedural violations, adopted a package of repressive laws depriving citizens of their civil rights and the right to peaceful protest.
4. The only real ground for such claims is the fact that some marginal and few in numbers nationalist radical groups take part in the protest. However, this is far not enough for total accusation of all Euromaidan participants in anti-Semitism. In fact, in the past few months there have been documented more instances of anti-Semitic rhetoric by the ruling party supporters. Besides, which is more important, we responsibly claim that in the present context in Ukraine law enforcement officers and representatives of criminal structures, which are used by the state officials in many regions for forced suppression of peaceful protests, are much more serious danger and pose the real threat not only to human rights and civil liberties but also to life and health of Ukrainians regardless of their ethnic origin and religious belonging than members of the few nationalist radical groups.
5. It often turns out that those who spread the most panic statements have no relation to the Jewish community, speak on behalf of the non-existing organizations under imagined names and spread obvious lie. Regretfully, these statements speak in unison with the main theses of the propaganda campaign of the ruling party and are readily reproduced by media.
We call on to the citizens of Ukraine and international observers to keep calm and to critically assess panic statements on the situation with anti-Semitism in Ukraine spread by media.
Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Committee
Kharkiv Human Rights Group
Congress of National Communities of Ukraine
No Borders project, Social Action center
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