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Hon. Benjamin L. Cardin, Chairman
Hon. Christopher H. Smith, Co-Chairman
For Immediate Release
www.csce.gov
December 11, 2013

CARDIN URGES IMMEDIATE ACTION BY UKRAINIAN OFFICIALS TO RESPECT HUMAN RIGHTS


WASHINGTON – U.S. Helsinki Commission Chairman Sen. Ben Cardin (MD), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today issued the following statement:

“I am deeply dismayed by yesterday’s decision by Ukrainian authorities to use Interior Ministry troops against peaceful protests in central Kyiv, coming after the already brutal dispersal of protestors last week.   There is no justification for these actions, which, along with other human rights violations, are grossly at odds with Ukraine’s Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) commitments and a serious blot on Ukraine’s OSCE Chairmanship. I call upon the Ukrainian authorities to take immediate, resolute steps to ensure that freedom of assembly and expression are respected. 

“These recent events come against the backdrop of the overall deterioration of human rights and democracy in Ukraine in the last few years.  The U.S., Canada and the EU have spoken out forcefully on these assaults on basic freedoms.  Unless the Ukrainian authorities take concrete actions to improve the situation, the international community should seriously consider undertaking additional measures such as the imposition of targeted sanctions against Ukrainian officials responsible for human rights abuses, including the suppression of peaceful protests.  

“I continue to stand with the people of Ukraine in their aspirations for a more democratic future, in which the rule of law and respect for human rights prevail.”

Media Contact: Shelly Han
202.225.1901
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Sen. Cardin (left) with Rep. Alcee L. Hastings at the Helsinki Commission Mediterranean Seminar in July 2009