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20 January, 2014 15:33   ▪  

Civil Society Forum urges European Commission and European Parliament to impose sanctions against Ukrainian legislators who voted for repressive laws

“The Steering Committee of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum calls upon the European Union to cease all financial assistance to the government of Ukraine, and to impose a travel ban on all 239 Ukrainian MPs who voted on 16 January 2014 for authoritarian new laws,” the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum’s Statement on repressive laws in Ukraine and Azerbaijan claims.

"EU sanctions should include freezing of EU-based financial assets of the lawmakers, and should be applied also to President Viktor Yanukovych, who signed the measures into law," the Steering Committee urges in its Statement.

The Statement addresses Catherine Ashton, European Commission Vice-President; Štefan Füle, European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy; Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament; and Ministers of Foreign Affairs of EU member-states.

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“The newly enacted measures in Ukraine include Soviet-style censorship and libel laws, and allow prosecutors to initiate criminal prosecution to stamp out criticism of the authorities. The laws also curb the right to operate any independent media on the internet, imposing fines and confiscation of servers that do not have a special license from the government. While those responsible for violence against peaceful protesters at the Euromaidan have been granted impunity, the new legislation jeopardizes freedoms of assembly, expression, and association, and imposes jail sentences of 10-15 years for mass disruptions or protests. On this basis, all those peacefully protesting in Ukraine this weekend can be sent to jail. 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 says.

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“It is imperative now that the EU also demonstrably supports 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,” the Statement concludes.

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