Human rights groups pen open letter on Ukraine's no show to nobel prize ceremony
An Open letter to Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kostyantyn Ivanovych:
On 8 December 2010 the Norwegian Nobel Prize Committee informed that Ukraine was among 19 countries which had declined their invitation to the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony on 10 December. It would seem that this position was dictated by support for China’s protest against the awarding of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not make any official statements to explain the reasons for this position to the Ukrainian public and the international community.
Despite the lack of official statement, it would appear to be support for the People’s Republic of China which has shown extraordinary activity over the awarding of Liu Xiaobo. It is obvious that the unofficial explanation that the diplomat is at a meeting in diplomatic language means that the country is not prepared to say directly, but is indirectly protesting against the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize.
The other countries that have declined the invitation are: China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Colombia, Tunisia, Saudi-Arabia, Pakistan, Serbia, Iraq , Iran, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Venezuela, the Philippines, Egypt, Sudan, Cuba and Morocco. None of those countries can at present be called a model of democracy and respect for human rights. The list contains none of the member states of the European Union which Ukraine has declared it wishes to join.
The USSR in the past also boycotted or protested against the awarding of the Nobel Prize to Andrei Sakharov, Boris Pasternak, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Joseph Brodsky, and also persecuted those people for their convictions. Ukraine’s refusal to take part in the ceremony is essentially in the same category as those actions. Ukraine values more highly political and economic relations with China, then commitment to the values of human decency and freedom.
Liu Xiaobo is a true symbol of peaceful struggle against the authoritarianism of the state and wide-scale violations of human rights. He is a symbol to the whole world of the importance of observing human rights and defending democracy. Refusal to show solidarity with his actions demonstrates lack of understanding by the State of fundamental values for the existence of a democratic State.
According to Article 11 § 1 of the Law on the Principles of Domestic and Foreign Policy” from 1 July 2010, “Ukraine as a European non-affiliated State carries out open foreign policy and wishes to cooperate with all interested partners, avoiding dependence on particular States, groups of States or international structures.”
We consider that the lack of an official representative of Ukraine at the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony for Liu Xiaobo will be seen by the EU and the international community as a move away from the principles of democracy and respect , and as a demonstration of solidarity with those particular countries which do not support the generally accepted concept of human rights and put forward their “own models” of interaction between the State and individual as a cover for authoritarian tendencies and infringements of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
The Institute for Mass Information
9 December 2010 KyivPost