Shared Concern Initiative’s Reaction to the Recent Developments in Ukraine

The Shared Concern Initiative´s new statement focuses on the deteriorating condition of democracy and the rule of law in Ukraine since the election of President Viktor Yanukovych in 2010. The statement is a reaction to the notable increase of corruption, increased Security Service activity and particularly harassment of opposition parties, their leaders and independent media.

“Fundamental tenets of a democratic society, such as freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and freedom of the press are increasingly coming under pressure. And the prosecution of opposition members, which has now culminated in the arrest and detention of former Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko during a trial that most of the West has deemed political, seems to confirm that the rule of law is being brushed aside.”

The SCI calls on the EU and its member states, as well as the current Polish EU presidency, to demand that the rule of law is respected and that Tymoshenko is given a fair chance to defend herself in court.

“Ukraine has reached a crossroads. One signpost points towards democracy; the other towards autocracy. The former path leads to membership in the European Union; the latter would take Ukraine to a darker and more dangerous destination. (…) We urge EU and the member states to insist demanding that the rule of law is respected. At the very least, the EU should demand that Tymoshenko and the other opposition leaders are set free on bail so that they can more vigorously defend themselves in court.”

The statement was signed by 10 members of the Shared Concern Initiative: H.R.H. El Hassan bin Talal, H.H. the Dalai Lama, André Glucksmann, Václav Havel, Michael Novak, Yohei Sasakawa, Karel Schwarzenberg, Desmond Tutu, Richard von Weizsäcker and Grigory Yavlinsky.

The statement has been released to selected world media and its full text is available here.

The Shared Concern Initiative is a project of the Forum 2000 Foundation. More about this Initiative can be found here.