Int'l Sign-On Statement to Support U.N. Investigation in Odessa, Ukraine
|Some of the 46 who were burned alive inside the Odessa Trade Union hall|
Join Call for a United Nations Investigation into the Tragic Events of May 2, 2014
On May 2, 2016, a memorial will be held in Odessa, Ukraine, to honor the memory of scores of prodemocracy activists who were brutally murdered on that date in Odessa two years ago.
There is no reason for the City authorities to forbid a peaceful memorial, but rightwing radicals, some of whom are believed to have been involved in the events of 2014, have declared that they will not allow it to proceed.
The tragedy of Odessa and the continuing danger of rightwing [fascist] violence in that beautiful city is of growing concern to decent minded people around the world.
Therefore, we the undersigned representatives of human rights organizations in the United States and other countries hereby call on the governments of Odessa, Ukraine and the United States to ensure that the civic rights of those attending the May 2 memorial in Odessa will be respected, including the delegations of international monitors who will be present on that day.
We further respectfully appeal to the United Nations Human Rights Committee to initiate an international investigation into the events of May 2, 2014, as requested by family members, friends and supporters of those who died on that day.
According to widely published reports, protesters opposed to the February 2014 coup that overthrew Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych had set up a symbolic tent city in Odessa’s Kulikovo Square, in front of the five story House of Trade Unions. On May 2, rightwing soccer fans, whipped up by procoup activists, attacked and burned the tent city, driving the much smaller group of protesters into the union building. The mob then set the building on fire. At least 46 people died from burns, smoke inhalation, gunfire and beatings. Many more were wounded. It was the worst case of violence in Odessa in many decades.
Ever since the massacre, representatives of the families of those who died have held weekly vigils to honor the memory of their loved ones. Many of these memorials have been harassed by procoup groups. As recently as April 10, a large gathering of people celebrating the liberation of Odessa from Nazi occupation was attacked by rightwing thugs. These same forces now are threatening to physically prevent the second May 2 anniversary memorial from taking place.
At a formal meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Committee held on March 21, 2016 in Geneva, family members and their supporters asked the committee to initiate a longoverdue impartial investigation into the events of May 2, 2014.
For their part, the procoup forces are expressing their opposition to such an investigation. This contradiction alone should make clear which side wants the truth to be revealed and which side wants it to remain hidden.
Again, we call on the United Nations to initiate the requested investigation. And we call on the governments of Odessa, Ukraine and the United States to ensure that the civic rights of those attending the May 2 memorial in Odessa are respected.
Elliott Adams, Veterans For Peace, Sharon Springs, NY
Abayomi Azikiwe - Editor, Pan-African News Wire; Organizer, Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice
Judith Bello - Member, Administrative Committee, United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC)
Ramsey Clark - Former U.S. Attorney General
Bob Dale, Veterans for Peace, Brunswick, Maine
Jacqui Deveneau, Maine Green Independent Party, Portland, Maine
Ana Edwards - Chair, Virginia Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project
Sara Flounders - Co-Director, International Action Center
Bruce Gagnon - International Coordinator, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, Veterans For Peace
Ellen Grady, Ithaca Catholic Worker, Ithaca, NY
Tamara Lorincz, Canadian Voice of Women for Peace, Saanichton, British Columbia, Canada
Jeff Mackler - Director, Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal; Past Vice President, American Federation of Teachers, Hayward Local 1423, AFL-CIO
Ray McGovern - Former CIA Analyst
Agneta Norberg, Swedish Peace Council, Stockholm, Sweden
Patricia Patterson, retired international mission executive, United Methodist Church, Claremont, CA
John Pilger, award winning journalist
J. Narayana Rao, All India Peace & Solidarity Organisation, Nagpur, India
Lisa Savage, Maine Natural Guard, Maine
Jean Sommer, Peace Action, Cleveland, OH
Gar Smith, Co-founder, Environmentalists Against War; Director, Academic Publishing; Free Speech Movement, Berkeley, CA
Alice Slater, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, New York City
Mary Beth Sullivan - Greater Brunswick PeaceWorks (Maine)
William H Warrick III, MD, Veterans for Peace, Gainesville, Florida
Kay Weir, editor, Pacific Ecologist, The Pacific Institute of Resource Management, Wellington, New Zealand
Phil Wilayto - Editor, The Virginia Defender
Mike Wisniewski, Los Angeles Catholic Worker, California
* Organizations listed for identification purposes only
This statement was initiated by the United National Antiwar Coalition (www.UNACpeace.org), a broad coalition of peace and justice organizations in the United States. UNAC encourages the circulation of this petition among peace and human rights organizations all over the world.
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