Editor’s Note: The following is an Aug. 5 statement issued by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, in which the organization expresses its dismay with what international institutions have labeled a politically motivated arrest of opposition leader and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
“The government of Ukraine is pursuing what appears to be politically-motivated, selective justice in a deliberate and systematic program to remove political opposition. This is another step away from democracy," stated Ukrainian Canadian Congress President Paul Grod. "Today’s arrest of Tymoshenko is another in an ever-growing list of violations of human rights, democracy and the rule of law which have been regressing under the Yanukovych government."
Despite numerous pronouncements by the Government of Ukraine to the contrary, there is abundant and growing evidence that Ukraine is reverting to an authoritarian model of governance as the government moves to systematically reverse the democratic gains made by the Orange Revolution.
"The international community cannot sit on its hands as democratic freedoms are being eroded in Ukraine," stated Grod. "We have formally asked the Government of Canada to use all diplomatic tools at its disposal to communicate Canada’s displeasure with the anti-democratic developments in Ukraine and call for her immediate release."
The UCC has repeatedly requested that Canada use all of its influence within the Euro-Atlantic community and Euro-Atlantic agencies to maintain pressure on the Yanukovych government to respect democracy and human rights. Furthermore we have called upon the Government of Canada to ensure that any Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement be contingent upon Ukrainian government commitments to respecting democracy and human rights.