Ukraine's Freedom Manifesto
22 November, 2018

Ukraine is honoring the five-year anniversary of the Revolution of Dignity, an event which provided civil society with new experiences of interacting with one another. Hromadske is publishing a Freedom Manifesto, written by the editorial in cooperation with human rights activists, in order to start a discussion on the role and values of civil society today, five years after the events on Maidan. What is freedom in Ukraine today? Why do we believe it is at risk? Where do we draw the line? What are the basic values which unite people with different political and world views?

The purpose of the manifesto is declare a basic set of principles which the signatories believe are necessary in the combatting internal and external threats.

The manifesto is open for more signatures. Please send them to [email protected] with the subject “Manifesto.” Only individuals, not groups, can sign the manifesto. The list will be published on Hromadske’s website. Every week, we will publish a new text in continuation of the discussion.  

We, as people who stood for freedom and dignity on Maidan, are witnesses to:

– violations of rights to peaceful assembly

– violations of rights to freedom of expression

– harassment for expressing unpopular views, criticizing the government or separate groups.

– restrictions on the rights of citizens based on where they were born, live or other attributes.

– attempts from supporters of certain ideological movements to establish a level of control at state level over the teaching and interpretation of history and the manifestations of historical memory.  

Unfortunately, these cases are no longer isolated and have turned into trends. These violations are carried out by both state structures and non-state groups, and often by non-state groups with public support from state bodies, political actors or “leaders of thought.”

The criminal inactivity of the law enforcement system has become a separate trend. Law enforcement leadership has not been able to prove that they are capable of carrying out radical, systemic reform. At the same time, impunity leads to new crimes.

We agree that we have different political views and our outlooks may be different. We were able to create common ground for struggle and solidarity on Maidan. However, the current situation requires an even more principled stance and more unity, therefore, together we declare the following:

– The protection of human rights and civil liberties is the cornerstone of our civil society and democratic Ukraine.

– Diversity, mutual respect for each other’s rights and freedoms and solidarity are the key values of our civil society and democratic Ukraine.

– The military situation, radical political reform, pragmatic considerations or economic crisis cannot be in any way justification for curtailing freedoms, pressuring independent society or media, violating human rights or the inability to investigate crimes against people.

– We demand consolidation of legal procedure, as opposed to supporting or encouraging mob justice, pressure or intimidation.

– A reformed law enforcement system should protect the freedoms and rights of all citizens without exception and both establish and detain criminals, rather than cover them up.

– The research, interpretation and presentation of historical events should be the subject of professional research and publicly argued discussions, and never the subject of ideological visions embodied through the state or any kind of ideological structure.

Curtailing freedoms makes it impossible to defend oneself against enemies both external and internal. We went to Maidan as free people, without fear. We can only win as free people, without fear. To live without fear in Ukraine is everybody’s right. And this is exactly the kind of Ukraine we strive for.

Maksym Butkevych, No Borders project, human rights activist

Denys Kobzin, sociologist, Kharkhiv Institute of Social Research

Andrew Chernousov, sociologist, Kharkhiv Institute of Social Research

Angelina Kariakina, Hromadske TV

Nataliya Gumenyuk, Hromadske TV

Vlad Azarov, Hromadske TV

Olexandra Matviychuk, human rights activist

Tata Peklun, journalist

Tetiana Bezruk, journalist

Natalia Kurdiukova, Kharkiv Independent media group “Nakipelo”

Iryna Chulivska, Digital Security Lab Ukraine

Tetiana Kozak, journalist

Yulia McGuffie,

Iryna Zemlyana, media expert

Mariya Yasenovska, Kharkiv Regional Foundation “Public Alternative”

Lesya Ganzha, Dostup do pravdy

Yaroslav Hrytsak, professor of the Ukrainian Catholic University

Yevgenia Belorusets, Prostory journal, curatorial group Hudrada

Alyona Luniova, human rights activist

Andriy Kulykov, Hromadske Radio

Oleh Rybachuk, Centre UA

Oleksiy Matsuka, Novosti Donbassa

Olga Rudenko, Kyiv Post

Oleksandra Dvoretska, NGO “Vostok SOS”

Anastasia Stanko, Hromadske TV

Illia Bezkorovayniy, Hromadske TV

Iuliia Bankova, Hromadske TV

Anna Tsygyma, Hromadske TV

Eugeny Spirin, the Babel

Olesya Ostrovska, Mystetskyi Arsenal

Solomiya Borshosh, Mystetskyi Arsenal

Kateryna Botanova, curator

Andrii Bashtovyi, journalist

Iryna Romaliyska, journalist

Anastasia Bezverkha, media researcher

Yuriy Marchenko, journalist

Oleksandr Nazarov, Hromadske TV

Tetiana Kharchenko, Hromadske TV

Anna Tokhmakhchi, Hromadske TV

Andriy Andrushkiv, presenter at Hromadske TV and the National Public Broadcasting Company of Ukraine

Konstantin Reutski, journalist

Mustafa Nayyem, MP

Aksinia Kurina, civic activist, film expert

Mikhail Minakov, philosopher

Lyudmyla Kozlovska, The Open Dialogue Foundation

Tetiana Popova, NGO “Information Security”

Maksym Osadchuk, civic activist and journalist

Bohdan Kutiepov, Hromadske TV

Natalya Ligacheva, Detector Media

Rostyslav Milevskyi, human rights activist

Gala Skliarevska, Detector Media

Igor Bernstein, pensioner from Kyiv

Nazar Losiuk, Ukrainian Helsinki human rights union

Volodymyr Kaplun, Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group

Tetiana Homon, keeper of library and museum of Ukrainian composer Borys Lyatoshynsky

Daryna Mizina, journalist

Dmytro Kalinin, Zaporizhia Charity Fund Gender Z, LGBT activist 

Inna Iryskina, Insight NGO

Sergii Shchelkunov, Save Zhovten NGO

Evgenia Levinshteyn, volunteer

Stanislav Mishchenko, Munich Kyiv Queer contact group

Anna Sharyhina, KyivPride

Olena Goncharova (Eva Gukalova)

Zurab Alasania, journalist, Director General of the Public Broadcasting Company of Ukraine (UA:PBC)

Mariana Sadovska, musician

Oleksandr Popenko, Hromadske TV, UA:PBC 

Yana Sedova, Hromadske TV

Oleksandr Zinchenkov, Our World center

Vsevolod Zheyko, poet, blogger, civic activist

Daria Nagaivska, Suchasna Zhinka (Modern Woman) NGO

Taisia Gerasimova,

Oksana Potapova, Theatre for Dialogue

Ostap Yarysh, Hromadske TV