The Committee of the Patriotic Forces of Donbas has made an appeal to the President of Ukraine, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, and the Verkhovna Rada, the Parliament. This appeal is their response to the proposed legislation on the special status of specific regions of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. The complete text is presented below:
In his address to the Cabinet of Ministers on September 11, 2014, the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, announced that he will soon bring forward to the Verkhovna Rada the proposed legislation, “On the interim arrangement of local self governance in designated regions of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. This proposed legislation meets the terms of the Minsk ceasefire agreement signed by representatives of the Russian Federation and the OSCE, with participation of the terrorist organizations of the “DNR” and “LNR”.
We make this appeal in the hope that at this time and into the future, you will take into account more than just the position of those who have instigated armed conflict in our country. They have destroyed our peaceful Donbas, have been designated as terrorist organizations, and have forced hundreds of thousands of our citizens to become refugees in their own country. As a result of threats to their physical well-being, they have fled their homes, their jobs, and have abandoned their property. These people need to be heard as well. We have been illegally deprived of the vast majority of our constitutionally guaranteed rights even as we remain citizens of this country!
It is our contention that the proposed law, or any future acts of law intended to regulate and resolve the present crisis in the East must first and foremost defend our interests (as we are unquestionably the greatest victims of the conflict), and have these principles as their foundation:
- The complete authority and sovereignty of Ukraine over the entire territory of Donbas, including those regions temporarily seized by the terrorists;
- Prevent all direct or indirect attempts at the establishment of legal recognition for the quasi-governmental structures created by the terrorists.
We understand the essential element of compromise in the negotiation of a lasting peace, and acknowledge the legitimacy of the Ukrainian government in these negotiations. Nonetheless, we call upon all political entities to refrain from ratifying the law “On the Special Status” of the territory of Donbas unless the following conditions are met:
1. Local elections cannot be held until:
a) the entire disputed territory returns under the complete and practical jurisdiction of Ukraine;
b) the permanent withdrawal of every illegal military formation and foreign army;
c) guarantee the equal rights of all candidates in the electoral process to present their message by every means of communication available during this time of renewal in the “special” territories;
2. Guarantee the full rights and freedoms of those citizens of Ukraine who were forced to leave their homes, especially the freedom of movement and the opportunity to participate in local elections at their place of permanent residency; and to facilitate the election process in other regions of Ukraine wherever displaced persons register for the “special status” elections called to elect representatives to local seats of government;
3. Mandate the participation of international observers to oversee the election campaign;
4. Base the elections on proportional representation;
5. Guarantee the physical safety of all candidates.
In the absence is such agreements as enumerated in points 1,2,3,and 5, it would be impossible to conduct local or national elections within these particular regions of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.
To foster the renewal of daily life in these regions we propose the following:
1. Take precautions against the monopolization of the process by any one group;
2. Allocate Ukrainian government financial resources only within the territories that have returned under the complete practical jurisdiction of Ukraine. We call on the Government of Ukraine to take into account not only the demands of the separatist factions of Donbas but equally the voices of patriots who are in fact the majority in these regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.
It is on our backs that the full burden of economic renewal will be carried when a new, Ukrainian Donbas will be reconstructed.
We caution all government ministries and political parties of Ukraine about the danger of cooperating in any fashion with the terrorist organizations of the “DNR” and the LNR”.
–Committee of the Patriotic Forces of Donbas
Our contact, Pavlo Zhovnirenko, at the Centre for Strategic Research can be reached at 050-330-8630, [email protected]