TBILISI, DFWatch–An umbrella organization uniting more than a hundred non-governmental organizations in Georgia on Saturday issued a statement expressing concern about events in Ukraine.
The statement, which is signed by more than 60 groups that are members of Georgian National Platform, says that for the past two months, the Ukrainian government has been neglecting people’s legitimate and peaceful demands, adopted laws restricting the civil rights of citizens thus provoking protesters and contributing to escalating mass tension.
“Each nation has the right to determine its future, global orientation and the way of development, while the government, personifying its will, is tasked with putting the national aspirations into practice,” the statement reads.
“The Ukrainian government, which came into power with promises to accelerate the process of European integration, refused to sign the Association Agreement with the EU prior to the Vilnius summit, by using arguments not convincing enough for the Ukrainian people, thus placing the future of the country at risk.”
The NGOs consider that the current situation, which has already caused deaths, puts the country’s stability, democratic values and human rights under threat. They think the government is obliged to provide peace, freedom of assembly and expression and protect human security.
“We hold on hope that the international community will consolidate to direct its joint efforts to stop the violence in Ukraine, and facilitate the peaceful and democratic developments in the country by taking the aspirations of the Ukrainian people into consideration.”
The NGOs appeal to the Ukrainian government and the international community as well as the Georgian government:
We call on the Ukrainian government to demonstrate good will and launch negotiations with the authorized representatives of the opposition and the civil society in order to reach a fair agreement that will ensure putting the political confrontation under democratic framework and introduce a spirit of respect towards the will and aspirations of the Ukrainian people.
We declare solidarity with the Ukrainian opposition and civil society in their legitimate demands and call on them to stand strong and not compromise in their peaceful fight.
We call on EU institutions – Council, Parliament and Commission – to use all possible leverage and convince the Ukrainian government of the necessity to abstain from using force against protesters and launch constructive negotiations with the oppostion.
We call on the Georgian government to timely assess the laws adopted by the Ukrainian Rada and urge the high Ukrainian authorities to protect and respect the human dignity and free choice, and show the political will to resolve the crisis in a fair and peaceful manner.
Eka Gigauri, head of Transparency International Georgia, says that the Georgian civil sector supports Ukraine’s European course, Ukrainian NGOs and people in their fight.
“We would also like to attract the attention of Georgians to make them see how important it is that our partner countries get closer to the EU and how important it is for us and also to show how we, the non-governmental sector, support Georgia’s Euro-integration course,” she said on Saturday, adding that there is no other choice for Georgia, except Europe.
Representatives of the National Platform also say that all the responsibility is on Ukraine’s government, which came to power on a promise to accelerate the integration with Europe, but instead it refused to sign the Association Agreement with the EU and went against the people’s will, establishing a Soviet type of principles by passing new laws.
“The responsibility of this whole tension is on Ukraine’s government,” says Lasha Tughushi, head of the National Platform.
He thinks the situation is very difficult and dramatic.
“Several different analyses have Ukraine on the edge of civil war. So any type of activity may have a decisive importance,” he said. “I think the West should be active and its actions will be critically important.”
He thinks the leaders of the EU and the US should send a strong signal.