PA Vice-President Kanerva expresses concern over legislation restricting protests, recriminalizing defamation in Ukraine

VIENNA, 17 January 2014 – OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Vice-President Ilkka Kanerva (MP, Finland) expressed concern today over the adoption of legislation by the Parliament of Ukraine on 16 January that imposes new restrictions on street protests and recriminalizes defamation.

"I am concerned that the legislation adopted by Ukraine's parliament threatens the civil liberties of the Ukrainian people. In this sensitive time for the country, its political leadership must remember that the rights of citizens to freedom of assembly, peaceful protest and speech are non-negotiable. I call on President Yanukovych to consider his country's commitments to OSCE standards before signing these measures in law," Kanerva said.

The OSCE PA Vice-President also expressed concern over reports that procedural standards for parliamentary voting may have been violated in approving the legislation.

The new legislation makes the unauthorized installation of tents, stages, or amplifiers in public places punishable by a fine of up to $640 or up to 15 days of detention. Individuals and organizations providing facilities or equipment for unauthorized meetings would face fines of up to $1,275 or up to ten days in detention.

Amendments to Ukraine's Criminal Code approved by the parliament recriminalize defamation and provide additional protection for public officials from critical speech. The provisions also criminalize the distribution of extremist materials, which are broadly defined in the legislation, through the media and the Internet.

Protesters have occupied Kyiv's central Independence Square and nearby areas for nearly two months after the government's decision in November to suspend work on an Association Agreement with the European Union. 



Nat Parry

Head of Communications and Press

Office: +45 33 37 80 55
Mobile: +45 60 10 81 77
Email: [email protected]

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