Target: President Viktor Yanukovich and Ukrainian Opposition Leaders
Goal: Protect human rights in Ukraine
Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators have been fighting for democracy in Ukraine by holding anti-government protests. Their demonstrations started peacefully, but have turned violent in recent months. The Ukrainian government and anti-government protestors must be commended for agreeing to halt demonstrations in the capital Kiev while peace negotiations are underway. Protests began when President Viktor Yanukovich decided to nix a trade deal with the European Union and strengthen ties with Russia by signing an inferior agreement. Demonstrations had become increasingly violent recently as President Yanukovich continued to refuse to meet with opposition leaders. These negotiations must prove fruitful in the next few days or a return to violence is inevitable. One opposition leader, former heavy-weight boxer Vitali Klitschko of the Udar Party, stated that if the president does not listen to them in these rounds of negotiations, “we will go into attack. There is no other way”.
This move to begin negotiations is a positive step. It is not, however, anywhere close to resolving the larger issues that people are dying for on the streets of Kiev. Recently, two men were shot to death during conflict with police. This brings the death total in the protests to five, as police escalate force. This has also forced members of the opposition to begin to resort to violent methods in order to protect themselves. Truly, the situation on the ground will become worse if there is no progress in the negotiations.
While the situation in Ukraine is unstable, this recent development is a positive step; especially as President Yanukovich had previously denied meeting with those who opposed his policies. Opposition leaders and the government alike deserve praise for attempting to bridge the gap between their differences and find a peaceful way to reach their respective goals. Sign this petition to commend this sign of peace and signal that the international community wants a swift and just resolution to the conflict.
Dear President Viktor Yanukovich and Vitali Klitschko,
The recent decision to meet with opposition leaders is a positive step towards ending this conflict. What happens next is up to the negotiations that take place in Kiev. It is important that basic human rights are preserved in Ukraine and that the voice of the people is not drowned out. I ask that you allow for peaceful demonstrations if no resolution is immediately available. I also ask that your government refrain from imprisoning or mistreating members of the opposition.
By doing these things, the international community will see that you are serious about maintaining human rights in your country. Undoubtedly, this assurance will lead to greater economic, and cultural gains for your nation. I urge you to do all that you can to bring an end to the social unrest that is currently ravaging Ukraine.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: via Wikipedia Commons