UN human rights office welcomes beginning of dialogue in Ukraine

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Rupert Colville

The beginning of a dialogue between the President and the opposition in Ukraine has been welcomed by the United Nations human rights Office in Geneva.

Thousands of people have been demonstrating in the capital, Kiev since November against the government's perceived rejection of integration with the European Union.

Protests continued even after the government introduced a package of laws two weeks ago to curtail the activities of civil society, including freedom of association, assembly and expression.

Spokesperson Rupert Colville says the UN human rights office is calling for the dialogue that has started in Ukraine to be sustainable, inclusive and respectful of international human rights standards.

"We also welcome the abolition by the Ukrainian parliament earlier this week of the laws passed on January 16, which unnecessarily restricted the exercise of the rights to freedom of assembly, association and speech, as well as the operation of NGOs. We call upon the President of Ukraine to sign the new law abolishing the legislative package of January 16, otherwise that doesn't come into operation. At the same time, we are appalled by the deaths reported in recent days in Kiev." (28")

Rupert Colville said the reported deaths should be promptly, thoroughly and independently investigated.

He added that the UN human rights office is also calling for an investigation into reports of kidnappings and torture in Ukraine.

Derrick Mbatha, United Nations.

Duration:  1’37″


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