Join us on International Human Rights Day:
Saturday, December 10 – 11 am to 12 Noon
Ralph Bunche Park (across from United Nations headquarters)
42 E. 43rd Street, New York, NY 10017
Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1599311223711196/
“In the evening, my mother collected warm clothes, documents, took water, and we went down to sleep in the basement. It was very damp and cold. Now I dream of the smell of the damp cellar at night,” Dima, 12 years old.
“There was no light, no water. I had to walk to the village of Roskoshnoye for it. It was scary. For the first month I didn’t sleep. I hugged my cat at night and cried. Kitty was also afraid,” Daniel, 12 years old.
“I wanted to shout to the whole world! Screaming in fear for my city, friends and family … I hope no one else ever experiences these horrible feelings! I want to have peace in the world!” Lyuba, 11 years old.
Join us at United Nations Headquarters on International Human Rights Day as we raise our voices in solidarity with the children of Donbass and demand that the Ukrainian and U.S. governments end their military and economic war on people in Donetsk and Lugansk.
Since June, youth organizers in the independent Donbass Republics of Lugansk and Donetsk have gathered hundreds of letters from children and teens about their experiences under war and blockade imposed by the U.S.-backed regime in Ukraine. The letters will be presented to representatives of the United Nations in Europe.
We will have copies of some letters translated to English. Activists against the war in Donbass will speak, as well as youth who will make connections between the war on children in the U.S. and abroad.
Youth need money for public education, housing and healthcare, an end to police brutality, Islamophobia and deportations, not wars and blockades targeting children in Donbass, Syria, Yemen and other countries!
Afterward, we encourage people to join in other important International Human Rights Day actions, including the Rally to Free All Political Prisoners in Harlem: https://www.facebook.com/events/544238225772634/
International Action Center
Solidarity with Novorossiya & Antifascists in Ukraine
147 W. 24 St., Fl. 2, New York, NY 10011
June 15 marks two months since the disappearance of the famous Russian left activist and political prisoner Andrei Sokolov, who was kidnapped by unknown assailants in Ukraine immediately after his release from the courtroom.
Andrei Sokolov, who comes from a poor family, joined the Russian left movement in the 1990s. In 1997 the young communist, who worked as a baker, was arrested for the first time for destroying a plaque memorializing the Czar’s family. Andrei spent two years in prison, and after his release, he was arrested again in 2000 on suspicion of mining the reception office of the Federal Security Service (FSB) in Moscow. The charges were unsubstantiated, but weapons were planted on Sokolov and he was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison. When he regained his freedom, the communist began working as a turner [lathe operator], despite the fact that in prison Andrei’s eyesight had greatly weakened. For many years he was under pressure from the Russian authorities, who detained him several times under false pretenses.
In the fall of 2014, Andrei Sokolov went to the Donbass, where he spent only two weeks in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR). On December 16, 2014, he accidentally drove into a checkpoint of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (APU), where he was arrested and charged with “aiding a terrorist organization.” From then until April 2016, Sokolov was held in Ukrainian prisons. According to the Russian’s lawyer, Valery Avzhenko, the prosecution did not have enough evidence to convict the prisoner, and all the “proof” of his guilt was obtained under duress, in violation of the norms and requirements of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Despite this, Andrei Sokolov agreed to a deal with the prosecution, which promised to release him in exchange for a confession of guilt.
On April 15, 2016, the court in Berdyansk, Ukraine, handed down a sentence of 2 years and 7 months imprisonment to the communist. As the Russian political prisoner spent nearly a year and a half in jail, this period was calculated on the principle of “two days served” for every day he was jailed, as provided under Ukrainian legislation. Thus, Sokolov had already officially served his sentence and was released from custody. However, upon leaving the courthouse, he was seized by four unidentified men, who took him away in a car.
Two months have passed, but the fate of the Russian communist remains unknown. Numerous requests from Andrei’s mother and representatives of the Consulate General of the Russian Federation went unanswered. According to human-rights activists and lawyers, Sokolov could have been kidnapped by Ukrainian far-right forces or taken to one of the secret prisons operated by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU). In early June, the United Nations said that the Ukrainian authorities did not permit international observers to visit these prisons. According to the UN report, the prisoners there are held without charge or trial. Relatives and lawyers are not allowed to visit, and “methods of physical and psychological pressure” are used – in other words, torture.
The life and health of Andrei Sokolov are under serious threat. Turning to the authorities of Ukraine, Russia and the European Union, to the international community, human-rights defenders and journalists, we demand that all necessary measures be taken to locate the Russian Communist, restore his freedom and punish those who bear criminal and political responsibility for his cynical abduction.
In this struggle we are especially counting on the support of left and democratic organizations worldwide. The fate of Andrei Sokolov proves once again that there are cases of unlawful kidnapping of leftists in Ukraine, and that the country operates secret prisons contrary to all norms of international law. All this is reminiscent of the worst pages in the history of right-wing terror, when “death squads” abducted and disappeared people for their political views. Unfortunately, this is being repeated in our country.
Free Andrei Sokolov!
No to political repression in Ukraine!
Freedom for political prisoners!
Union Borotba (Struggle)
June 15, 2016
The International Action Center joins the call demanding freedom for Andrei Sokolov and all political prisoners of the U.S.-backed regime in Ukraine. Readers are urged to call the White House comment line at (202) 456-1111 and the Embassy of Ukraine at (202) 349-2963. You can also send written messages to the White House at https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact and email the Embassy of Ukraine at firstname.lastname@example.org. Demand that Washington and Kiev reveal the whereabouts of missing Russian citizen Andrei Sokolov, that he be released immediately, and that those who illegally detained him be found and prosecuted.
Statement translated by Greg Butterfield.
Join Ramsey Clark, Cynthia McKinney, John Pilger, Sara Flounders & more!
The International Action Center endorses this appeal from the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) on behalf of besieged activists and family members in Odessa, Ukraine. We urge you to support UNAC’s delegation to Odessa and share this information widely.
From UNAC Co-coordinators Marilyn Levine & Joe Lombardo:
It’s been nearly two years since the world was shocked by reports of the deaths of scores of pro-democracy activists at the hands of extreme right-wing forces in the city of Odessa, Ukraine.
It was barely three months after a violent, right-wing coup overthrew the elected Ukrainian government. The activists had set up a tent city in Odessa’s historic Kulikovo Square to publicize their demand for a national referendum to decide the legitimacy of the coup.
On May 2, a large mob led by organized fascist groups set fire to the camp, forcing the activists to retreat into the nearby five-story House of Trade Unions. The building was then set on fire. Many died of smoke inhalation or were burned alive. Some jumped to their deaths. Some of those attempting to flee the building were shot or beaten to death. One pregnant woman was strangled. At least 46 activists were killed and many more were injured. (You can find many Internet videos. A good overview is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yflMScowPfk)
Every week since the massacre, family members, friends and supporters, organized as the Mothers Committee for May 2, have held memorials in Kulikovo Square. These memorials are often harassed by the same or similar right-wing thugs, many of whom belong to neo-Nazi organizations.
The Mothers Committee is now planning a large memorial for this May 2 to mark the second anniversary of the massacre. The fascist organizations have publicly declared that they will not allow the memorial to take place.
In response to this very serious situation, and in consultation with our contacts in Odessa, UNAC is working to re-focus the world’s attention on Odessa, in the hope that this might help convince the U.S. and Ukrainian governments that allowing an attack on the memorial would not be in their best interests.
As part of this effort, UNAC will be sending a delegation of U.S. human rights activists to Odessa to monitor the memorial. We also sent a statement to the United Nations Human Rights Committee endorsing the call by the Mothers Committee for an international investigation into the 2014 massacre. Significantly, one of the leading fascist organizations, called Maidan, has formally asked the U.N. to deny this request.
YOU CAN HELP!
We also have drawn up the attached statement calling on the city government of Odessa, the federal government of Ukraine and the U.S. government to ensure that the civic rights of those attending the May 2 memorial, including the U.S. monitors, are respected. The statement also again endorses the Mothers Committee’s call for an international investigation into the events of May 2, 2014.
We are now appealing to human rights and progressive organizations and prominent individuals to sign on to this statement. We are asking you to help with this effort. Please send endorsements to: UNACpeace@gmail.com.
TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE
In order to be effective, we will need to send the statement to the Odessa, Ukrainian and U.S. authorities as soon as possible. At the same time, we will be releasing the statement to the world media.
Statement in support of May 2 memorial in Odessa and for a United Nations investigation into the tragic events of May 2, 2014
Partial list of endorsers:
Ramsey Clark – Former U.S. Attorney General; Human Rights Activist
Cynthia McKinney, Ph.D – Former Member, U.S. Congress; 2008 Green Party U.S. Presidential Candidate
John Pilger – Award-winning Journalist
Marilyn Levin & Joe Lombardo – Co-Coordinators, United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC)
Ray McGovern – Former CIA Analyst; Co-Founder, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
Margaret Kimberley – Editor and Senior Columnist, Black Agenda Report
Bernadette Ellorin – Chairperson, Bayan USA
Ana Edwards – Chair, Virginia Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project, Richmond, Virginia
Sara Flounders, Co-Director, International Action Center, U.S. Peace Council
See full list here: http://nepajac.org/ukrainepetition.htm
This statement was initiated by the United National Antiwar Coalition, a broad coalition of peace and justice organizations in the United States. UNAC encourages the circulation of this petition among human rights organizations all over the world. Please send all new endorsements to: UNAC, PO Box 123, Delmar, NY 12054 USA; Phone: 518-227-6947; Email: UNACpeace@gmail.com; Web: www.unacpeace.org/