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21 August, 2018

Poland bans a Ukrainian human rights activist from 26 European countries

Poland authorities say Lyudmyla Kozlovska, who runs the Open Dialog Foundation, poses a security threat

According to Associated Press, Poland has used its powers as a European Union member to ban a Ukrainian human rights activist from all 26 countries in Europe's Schengen area, saying she poses a security threat. Critics are accusing the government of misusing the system to intimidate its opponents.

The activist, Lyudmyla Kozlovska, and her Polish husband Bartosz Kramek told The Associated Press they consider the move punishment for their open opposition to Poland's government.

Kozlovska, who runs an organization with offices in Warsaw, Brussels and Kyev, the Open Dialog Foundation, said her group's work has largely focused on promoting democracy in Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Moldova. One effort, she said, involved lobbying the EU to place sanctions on people close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

But after the conservative nationalist Law and Justice party won power in Poland in 2015 and began reshaping the country's judiciary, the pair also started to accuse that government of violating the rule of law. Kozlovska said they began to face political pressure and that some ruling-party members and online trolls accused her of ties to Russia.


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