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Ukraine: Urgent Need for Authorities to End Impunity for Radical Violence
A rise in violent incidents initiated by radical groups targeting ethnic and religious minorities, feminists, LGBT people, and other communities in Ukraine should prompt an effective response by the Ukrainian government, said Freedom House, along with Amnesty International, Frontline Defenders, and Human Rights Watch in a joint letter to the Ukrainian Ministry of Interior and the General Prosecutor’s Office.
“Time and again, the National Police and other government bodies have failed both to prevent these attacks and threats and to respond with swift investigations and accountability for perpetrators,” said Marc Behrendt, director of Europe and Eurasia programs at Freedom House. “We strongly urge Ukraine’s political leaders to take a clear stand that recognizes the right of everyone to peacefully gather and participate in public life and categorically condemns vigilante violence.”
In the letter, the organizations say that authorities have not reacted to the growing number of violent attacks and threats by members of violent radical groups, which act with virtual impunity. The organizations call on the Ukrainian authorities to take steps to prevent and stop hate-motivated violence and harassment and hold those responsible for the violence accountable.
Freedom House, as part of its Nations in Transit policy brief series, recently published Far-right Extremism as a Threat to Ukrainian Democracy, describing the threat to democracy and pluralism in Ukraine posed by violent radicalism. According to the brief, violence, threats, and intimidation are used against those with perceived opposing political and cultural views, such as leftists, feminists, liberals, LGBT people, human rights defenders, and ethnic and religious minorities. The report also notes that the recent show of force has so far gone unpunished by the authorities.
Ukraine is rated Partly Free in Freedom in the World 2018, Partly Free in Freedom of the Press 2017, Partly Free in Freedom on the Net 2017, and receives a democracy score of 4.64, on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 as the worst possible score, in Nations in Transit 2018.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.