Ukraine: investigate violence against journalists

Human Rights organizations from the OSCE region, united in the Civic Solidarity Platform, are following with great concern the reports from Ukraine on cases of violence against civil society representatives in that country. Of particular concern are attacks on journalists - media and human rights organizations report that 2013 was marked by an unprecedented number of attacks on journalists, half of which came in December, when mass protests in Ukraine have started. Insufficiently speedy and public investigation of episodes of beatings of journalists covering these protests, particularly during the events on the Bankovaya street on December 1, 2013, also continues to cause concern.

Council of Europe Recommendation № (96)4 of the Committee of Ministers of Council of Europe "On the protection of journalists in situations of conflict and tension" accentuates the exceptional role of journalists and the media in informing the public about violations of national and international law, human suffering in situations of conflict and tension. Among OSCE commitments, organization that Ukraine chaired in 2013, some of the most important ones  guarantee media freedom and security of journalists and human rights defenders.  Recent UN General Assembly resolution "On the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity» A/RES/68/163 of 18 December 2013 also dealt with that issue and emphasized these obligations of UN member states, including Ukraine.

According to these obligations, an absolute duty of the authorities is timely, effective and impartial investigation of the episodes of attacks and bringing to justice not only the direct perpetrators, but also those who ordered such crimes — especially, when there are reasons to suspect a connection with professional journalist or human rights activities.

We believe that additional steps are required to restore faith in the possibility of justice, ensuring the best possible publicity and transparency in the investigation and regularly informing the public about all the steps undertaken by the authorities to combat impunity. We also are convinced that the involvement of independent experts and international investigation mechanisms will contribute to the quality, completeness and objectivity of the investigation and urge the Ukrainian authorities to use those possibilities.

 

Analytical Center of Inter-ethnic Cooperation and Consultation (Georgia)

The Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House (Lithuania)

Georgian Young Lawyers Association

Human Rights Club (Azerbaijan)

International Youth Human Rights Movement

International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law ( Kazakhstan )

Moscow Helsinki Group (Russia)

Netherlands Helsinki Committee

Human Rights Group "Citizen. Army. Law" (Russia)

Human Rights House Foundation (Norway)

Human Rights Movement "Bir Duino" (Kyrgyzstan)

Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan

Helsinki Citizens Assembly-Vanadzor (Armenia)

Helsinki Committee of Armenia

Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)

"Public Alternative" Foundation (Ukraine)

"Public Verdict" Foundation (Russia)

Centre for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)

Center for International and National Studies (Azerbaijan)

UNITED for Intercultural Action (Netherlands)

Center for Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)