Press Conference opens events marking the thirtieth anniversary of the founding of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group

On Wednesday 8 November a press conference in Kyiv gathered former members of the Ukrainian Public Group to Promote the Implementation of the Helsinki Accords (the Ukrainian Helsinki Group) and others involved in the defence of human rights.

The event was attended by Levko Lukyanenko, one of the founding members of the group, Raisa Rudenko, wife of the head of the Group Mykola Rudenko, and herself the UHG  “permanent secretary”, Ludmila Alexeeva, one of the founding members of the Moscow Helsinki Group, Vasyl Ovsiyenko, Josef Zisels, Osyp Zinkevych and the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union Executive Director Volodymyr Yavorsky. 

Those present shared their memories about the creation of the UHG as well as their thoughts about more contemporary events in Ukraine.

During the afternoon, as part of the program to mark the thirtieth anniversary, former members of the UHG and their families visited the graves of members of the UHG Mykola Rudenko, Vasyl Stus, Yury Lytvyn, Oleksiy Tykhy, Oksana Meshko, Viacheslav Chornovil and Nadiya Svitlychna at Baikove Cemetery and Valery Marchenko’s grave in the village of Hatne.

A memorial service was also held at the grave of Patriarch Volodymyr on St Sophia Square.  An evening dedicated to the memory of Nadiya Svitlychna is scheduled for Wednesday evening.

On 9 November, the anniversary of the official founding 30 years ago, a number of events are planned.

10.00 to 15.00 the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union is organizing a seminar on “Human rights: yesterday and today”.  This will be held in the Trade Union Building (Maidan Nezalezhnosti – Independence Square]

14.00 to 16.00 – The President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko is to present State awards to members of the UHG or members of their families (at the Presidential Secretariat)

17.00 – 20.00   Formal public evening to mark the thirtieth anniversary of the Ukrainian Public Group to Promote the Implementation of the Helsinki Accords.  This is to be held in the conference hall of the Kyiv City House of the Teacher, Volodymyrska St, 57.

Most of the remaining 20 members of the UHG are expected to attend, as well as representatives of the Helsinki movement of other countries, the President of Ukraine, ambassadors of state signatories to the Helsinki Accords.  There will also be a photo exhibition.

On 10 November – an academic conference with the participation of members of the UHG will take place at the “Smoloskyp” publishing house (21 Mezhyhirska St, nearest metro station is “Kontraktova ploshcha”).  The conference begins at 10.00.

During the events, the following books will be presented:

The Ukrainian Helsinki Group: On the 30th anniversary of its creation: history and documents. / compiled by O. Zinkevych and V. Ovsiyenko – Kyiv: Smoloskyp, 2006, 128 pages.

The International Biographical Dictionary of Dissidents of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the former USSR. Volume 1: Ukraine. – Kharkiv: Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group. Prava Ludyny 2006.

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