Tuesday, January 28, 2014

People of Ukraine ask the world for support

by Olya Glantsman & Carlos Luis

Over the past two months, what began as a peaceful protest in the heart of the capital of Ukraine, Kiev, turned into country-wide unrest. The first outpouring of protests followed brutal beating of peaceful demonstrators, mostly university students, by the riot police, on November 30th.  Furthermore, on January 16th, Ukrainian government voted on a package of harsh anti-protest laws which, among others, included criminalizing defamation, wearing a helmet or covering one’s face, pitching tents, blocking access to public buildings, and driving in a convoy of more than 5 vehicles. A large number of these laws were clearly aimed at curbing the protests that originated on Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square, the main street of Kiev). This move was perceived by many Ukrainians as an attempt to further transform their country into a dictatorship, which resulted in multiple violent clashes between riot police and demonstrators across the country.

Many believe the protests are a result of the President’s refusal to sign a European Union agreement, but the issue is much more complex than that. Ukrainians are protesting government corruption, police impunity, and many major violations of human rights such as violation of freedoms of speech, association, assembly, media, privacy, and civil society.

In a recently uploaded video, Ukrainians thank the moral support received thus far, and urge us to take the next step and contact our country’s representatives. This is what they tell us in the video:

I am a Ukrainian.
I am not a fascist, terrorist or criminal.
I am proud of my language and culture.
I stand on the Maidan for my own dignity,
for the freedom of my nation,
because it is the right thing to do.
This is not just about joining the European Union anymore.
This is about our right to live in a democratic State.
Thank you for your moral support.
But if your child was bleeding,
You wouldn’t offer him your moral support…
You would help him.
Call your Congressman, Member of Parliament, Senator, Queen, President, King.
Say that you support sanctions on the Ukrainian politicians…those who stand against democracy.
Share your stories with your friends and co-workers.
Ask your news provider to cover the events here.
I am a Ukrainian.
I am European.
I believe that we can do better.
Support sanctions.
Thank you.

On behalf of Ukrainians, we urge you to contact your country’s representative. Below you’ll find a sample letter for the US, and welcome you to share resources for contacting leaders around the globe.

Additional resources:

PLEASE contact your House of Reprentatives Member and tell them to SUPPORT CONGRESSIONAL RESOLUTION H.RES.447. Sample letter below.


Recently, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution calling for a peaceful outcome to the Ukrainian crisis and targeted sanctions against officials should violence befall the EuroMaidan. Similarly, the House of Representatives introduced its resolution calling for the same measures. The House version, H.Res.447, will be reviewed on Wednesday, January 29th. It is imperative that all Ukrainian Americans contact their Members of Congress and urge them to co-sponsor the resolution.

Attached, please find a sample letter to Members of Congress. Letters may be e-mailed directly by using the House website at:
http://www.house.gov/representatives/. Please find your elected official and simply fill in the form and text in the “Comments” section. Should you have any questions, please contact the UNIS office at (202) 547-0018 or at unis@ucca.org.


The Honorable (name)
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Representative (name):

As your constituent, I am deeply concerned about the killing of several peaceful protestors in Kyiv’s EuroMaidan. I appeal to you to co-sponsor H.Res.447 calling for targeted sanctions against Ukrainian government officials for instilling violence. I look forward to your support on this very important matter! UKRAINE NEEDS YOUR HELP NOW!



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