December 10th, 2013
NDP calls for protection of democratic rights in Ukraine
New Democrats are deeply concerned by the use of force against civilians in Ukraine and call on the government of Canada to support international efforts toward a political resolution of the crisis.
“Free speech and association, including the right to peaceful protest, are fundamental to democracy,” said NDP Foreign Affairs Critic Paul Dewar. “Canada should send a clear message to the government of Ukraine that it must respect these democratic liberties, and not repress them through the use of force.”
Hundreds of thousands of protesters have gathered for rallies in central Kyiv over the past three weeks, following the government’s rejection of a political and economic agreement with the European Union. Police have responded with harsh crackdowns, reportedly using tear gas, stun grenades, and batons against peaceful protesters, bystanders, and journalists. Dozens of people have been injured, with others subjected to arbitrary political arrest.
“I urge all sides to exercise restraint and commit to dialogue between government, opposition parties, and civil society,” added Dewar. “The Canadian government should join our allies, including the European Union and the United States, in supporting efforts toward a political resolution of the crisis.”