10 December 2013
"For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains,
but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."
Ukrainian World Congress Statement on International Human Rights Day
The Ukrainian World Congress joins the global community in commemorating International Human Rights Day on 10 December 2013.
There is, without doubt, much to celebrate as we reflect upon the accomplishments of the global community since the adoption of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations General Assembly on this day in 1948 as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. Many violations of human rights, however, are still prevalent around the world.
Ironically, on International Human Rights Day, the people of Ukraine continue to stand on EuroMaidans, as they have since 24 November 2013, to demonstrate that their rights are being violated and their freedoms eroded. The Ukrainian people are in a struggle for the right to realize their aspiration to live in a democratic and European country. Their voice has yet to be heard by Ukraine's governing authorities.
On 30 November 2013 these peaceful protesters were met with violence in an attempt to silence them. The situation in the country remains tenuous as some protesters remain detained and reports continue about the exertion of undue pressure on journalists, students, civil society and the opposition.
"On this day, when we annually vow to reaffirm the dignity and protect the human rights of all citizens, the Ukrainian World Congress appeals to the international community to support the people of Ukraine in their fight for the freedom to chart their course without fear of reprisals or persecution - the foundation of a democratic society," stated Ukrainian World Congress President Eugene Czolij.
The Ukrainian World Congress pays tribute to all who have sacrificed their lives in defense of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and to all who today, in many countries around the world, steadfastly continue to defend these rights of every human being to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.
The UWC is the international coordinating body for Ukrainian communities in the diaspora representing the interests of over 20 million Ukrainians. The UWC has member organizations in 33 countries and ties with Ukrainians in 14 additional countries. Founded in 1967 as a non-profit corporation, the UWC was recognized in 2003 by the United Nations Economic and Social Council as a non-governmental organization (NGO) with special consultative status.