Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Canadian MP speaks out against Ukrainian government's recent attack on Tymoshenko

During Question Period in the House of Commons today, James Bezan, Member of Parliament for Selkirk-Interlake asked the Minister of Foreign Affairs, John Baird, for an update on the state of affairs in Ukraine. 

MP Bezan has been vocal on the human rights situation in Ukraine during its period of democratic regression, and has called for strong actions to be taken against the Ukrainian government. 

Highlighting the Ukrainian government’s dismal record as of late, MP Bezan specifically brought to light allegations of physical abuse of former Prime Minister, Yulia Tymoshenko in his question to Minister Baird.

“There have been reports that former Prime Minister, Yulia Tymenshenko was injured while forcibly removed from her prison cell. This is yet another example of the mistreatment that Ms. Tymoshenko has faced at the hands of the Ukrainian authorities.”

Ukrainian authorities deny it of course. But, according to a recent BBC article, they don't have a lot of credibility these days in the west.

In addition to Ms. Tymoshenko, MP Bezan also shed light on the increasing number of political prisoners in Ukraine stating that, “Last week we learned of yet another disturbing arrest in Ukraine of former defence minister, Valeriy Ivashchenko, who was sentenced to five years in prison. The situation of Ms. Tymoshenko and other political prisoners in Ukraine is deeply concerning.”

Minister Baird responded, “Our government is deeply troubled by the latest report emanating from Ukraine on Ms. Tymoshenko’s situation. We call upon the Ukrainian authorities to ensure that Ms. Tymoshenko receives the medical attention and treatment that is needed for her well-being.”

Baird added, “The current trend of politically motivated prosecutions and persecutions in Ukraine is unacceptable. These acts undermine the institutions upon which a peaceful, prosperous and democratic society depends. We call upon the Ukrainian government to strengthen its democratic institutions and respect the rights of its citizens.” 

Last week, Minister Bezan called on the Canadian government to impose economic sanctions against Ukraine in response to the Ukrainian government's ongoing and escalating human rights abuses.

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