Why doesn't the Prime Minister speak up?

A human rights crisis has emerged in the Ukraine. One after another, the institutions and Member States of the European Union have spoken up against violence and in the defence of democracy but the leaders of the Hungarian administration keep deep silence. The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union has sent a letter to Viktor Orbán calling him as the responsible head of the Hungarian Government to stand up against the authoritarianism and violence from the part of the state in the neighbouring Ukraine and to offer mediation services to facilitate a peaceful resolution of the crisis as soon as possible.

Dear Mr. Prime Minister!

There is an escalating human rights crisis in the neighboring Ukraine. The government restricts civil liberties and does not fulfill its obligation to protect the lives and safety of its citizens. It is reported that people are disappearing from the streets and even hospitals, and later turn up badly bruised. The government is trying to drown the street movement of its citizens in blood, with the help of riot police and pro-government thugs. The death toll continues to rise. There is no doubt that both sides have resorted to brutal violence, but the Ukrainian government bears responsibility for the escalation of violence because it refused to make way for democratic change. Instead, it adopted laws  that restrict freedoms and ignore the principles of democratic decision making. There is a risk that our Eastern neighbors will descend into civil war, jeopardizing human rights in the region.

The institutions and member states of the European Union, the leaders of the European Commission, the European Parliament, Germany, France, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Italy and Poland are making strong statements against violence and in support of democracy. It is obvious the international pressure is vital to a peaceful solution for the crisis. The fundamental principles, on which the European Union and the Hungarian Republic was built, are in danger in Ukraine.

The leaders of the Hungarian government remained silent. You remained silent as well.

Your silence is particularly incomprehensible for us because in 2006 you demanded international intervention against the violation of human rights in Hungary. The situation at that time was not even similar in scope to the current Ukrainian situation. However, if you thought it necessary to ask for international intervention to stop unlawful violence back then, why not now? You surely remember that in 2006 the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union had a pivotal role in advocating for the investigation and suspension of unlawful police actions. There should be no double standards.

It is time that as the head of the Hungarian government you exercise influence on Ukraine to stop autocracy and violence. Please call on your Ukrainian colleague to give up on police terror, and to respect human rights! Offer your help to mediate talks to find a peaceful resolution of the crisis.

Stefánia  Kapronczay                                    Máté Dániel Szabó 

executive director                                          director of programs

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