Picture – poster inviting to boycott the World Football Championship in Russia by Andriy Yermolenko
The World Football Championship – 2018 should not serve as a cover for Putin’s repressive system.
We, the civil society organizations of Ukraine, encourage mass media and international organizations turn their attention to a championship of a different kind — the kind Russia is waging against freedom of press and against human rights.
At least 70 Ukrainian citizens, including journalists, are currently held in violation of the international law by Russia behind bars. In the occupied Crimea, Russia’s repressive legislation is being enforced, human rights are being violated on the large scale, journalists and activists are persecuted for their views and ethnic or religious persuasion. Even civil journalists like Nariman Memedeminov, are being arrested and persecuted.
Oleg Sentsov, Ukrainian director, has been on a hunger strike in a Russian prison for the second month already. Roman Sushchenko, Ukrainian journalist, who received a sentence of 12 years in the prison camp, and Mykola Semena, Crimean journalist, who was banned from engaging in public activities and from leaving the territory of Crimea, are vivid examples of resistance to Kremlin’s choke-hold of mass media.
According to the international human rights organizations, ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the number of journalists — both staff and bloggers — has been imprisoned on the territory of Russia is currently the highest.
We encourage Ukrainian and international journalists and mass media to take every effort to stop the stage sets of the World Championship – 2018 from masking the actual state of affairs with violation of human rights in Russia. We encourage journalists and mass media to express their solidarity with the political prisoners and journalists being held illegally in Russia and to cover in their materials not the football championship but the situation with freedom of press and human rights in this country.
We demand that Russia:
Immediately release Oleg Sentsov, Roman Suchshenko and all those Ukrainian citizens imprisoned due to political reasons in Russia and in the occupied Crimea.
Secure unencumbered access of consuls, lawyers and family members to the Ukrainian political prisoners, as well as provide them proper medical care.
We encourage the European Union structures:
To monitor closely violations of freedom of press and human rights taking place in Russia and to pay special attention to the situation with the repressions in the Crimea annexed by Russia and in Donbas region.
To continue the sanctions by EU againt Russia and introduce personal sanctions against persons involved in fabrication of criminal cases against Ukrainian journalists and political prisoners.
NGO Institute of Mass Information
NGO Civil Service ‘Svidomo’
NGO Human Rights Information Center
Pylyop Orlyk Institute of Democracy
NGO Internews Ukraine
NGO Detector Media
Center of Liberation Movement Research
The statement is open for signing. We ask those willing to sign it to contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.