Civil Society Forum challenges EU and Eastern Partner countries to sign a Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms

January 20, 2014

News Source: PASOS Secretariat, Czech Republic

The European Union must cease financial assistance to the Ukrainian government and impose sanctions on legislators who voted for dictatorial legislation, according to a statement released by the Steering Committee of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (CSF).

“By voting for these new laws, politicians from the ruling party in Ukraine have crossed the line to authoritarian rule, suspending democracy and fundamental human rights,” the statement reads. “The new legislation contradicts the obligations of Ukraine as a member of the Council of Europe, and defies the respective commitments set out in the Eastern Partnership initiative.”

The statement also calls for the EU to require its members and the countries of the Eastern Partnership to sign a Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, which would enshrine promotion and protection of human rights, freedoms of association, assembly and speech, safeguards for independent media, and the right to participate in free and fair elections. Any infringement of the Charter – an initiative being developed by the Forum – would trigger EU sanctions.

Three PASOS representatives are members of the Forum’s Steering Committee: PASOS Executive Director Jeff Lovitt; Vugar Bayramov of the Center for Economic and Social Development (CESD); and Jan Pieklo of the Polish-Ukrainian Cooperation Foundation (PAUCI).

The statements also demands that the EU should visibly support “civil society actors and citizens wishing to express their opinions freely in the Eastern Partner countries.”

“EU support should go beyond financial aid to civil society, and extend to ensuring that all EU representatives travelling to Ukraine, Azerbaijan and other partner countries meet with representatives of civil society, and vocally support their calls for freedom of association and the removal of restrictions on civil society,” according to the statement.

The statement in full can be downloaded here.

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