Ukraine Update

There's a petition going around academic circles expressing alarm at the current political situation in Ukraine, where elections will be held 31 October 2004.

The text of the petition:

We, members of the international community of intellectuals, are deeply alarmed by the state of affairs in Ukraine on the eve of the presidential elections. The latest news from Ukraine leave no doubt that the country's authorities have engaged in mass violations of voter rights, manipulations of the law, and abuses of power.

What worries us most is that one of the biggest targets of persecution are the many students who have spoken out and demonstrated against what has been occurring. Meanwhile, government officials have flagrantly pressured Ukrainian universities and other academic institutions to curb democratic student activities. Freedom of expression and free elections are cornerstones of democracy, public activity, and academic life.

Therefore, we condemn all attempts at limiting these rights and attacks on democratic and corporate rights and freedoms in Ukraine.

We are in solidarity with all Ukrainian citizens who have stood up to defend their rights and freedoms. Therefore, we shall devote all our efforts to disseminating information about the electoral abuses and violations of human rights in Ukraine to information agencies, the mass media, governments, political and human-rights organizations, and academic communities throughout the world.

Today a major front line in the international struggle for democracy runs through Ukraine. We call upon all intellectuals there and throughout the world to do everything possible to defend your and our freedom.

Should you decide that you would like to sign this petition, please contact Dr. Yaroslav Hrytsak at both hrytsak at ceu dot hu and yh2187 at columbia dot edu with your name and affiliation.


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