Address To The International Community From Hunger Strikers In Ukraine

Dear All,

We would like to draw your attention to the fact of unprecedented violation of lawful procedures in Ukrainian Parliament (Verkhovna Rada) that took place during the recent votings for the notorious language bill # 9073 on July 3rd and bill # 9634 on July 4th. To be precise, both bills have been approved by approximately 248 votes while only some 74 deputies were physically present in the session hall (please see the video that evidences this fact).

Besides, an obligatory requirement to procedures of adoption has not been met, notably – 30 days period for examination, hearings and pre-approval in specialized Parliament committees were failed to be followed.

On the very next day, a couple of other not less controversial bills have been approved in the same manner, for instance the bill # 9634, which effectively denies access for the journalists to the information on public purchases, civic activists and non-governmental organizations. Due to loss of transparency of this kind of transactions, an amount of budget funds that can be misused (or, in other words, stolen from public) is estimated at UAH250 billions in one single year.

As a sign of protest (officially – only against the languages bill), opposition leaders have entered into a hunger strike.

As you may have already learned, the bill on languages did not entered into force due to the acting Speaker’s refusal to sign it; on 6th of July the Speaker has pleaded for dismissal, the Parliament session has been closed for summer vacations till 4th of September, thus having put the process of further legitimation of this bill to a halt. Prompted by this fact, the official opposition has quit hunger strike and “celebrated a victory” on 07th July 2012.

However, it seems to be too early to celebrate, as the ruling Party of Regions has already found possible solution to this – the Constitutional Court has been quickly summoned to technically approve the amendment to the procedures of the elections of the Speaker by the Parliament (number of required votes has been decreased from 300 to 226, and the voting mode has been changed from anonymous, in person voting to the conventional voting with electronic cards), so, the situation with that particular bill is uncertain. But what is more important, the Speaker of Parliament is becoming easier to replace and hence more susceptive to the outside pressure and, as a result, much more less independent from the President and the government.

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