Today, November 10, a two-day forum on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group and II Crimean forum started in Lviv.
The forum gathered about a hundred former political prisoners from 15 countries, including Ukraine. Among the participants were representatives of Belarus, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Russia, Georgia, Armenia, France, Germany, Sweden, Israel, USA, Czech Republic and Canada, as well as family members of the perished political prisoners.
In the morning, the forum participants met with Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovy, who welcomed the guests and said that he was proud to host such a significant event in his city.
Speaker of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people Refat Chubarov, addressing the gathering, said that the I Crimean Forum was held in 2012 in Simferopol.
“Last time we invited the Soviet dissidents, friends who fought for their rights and their homeland. Now we have gathered in Lviv, for obvious reasons,” said Chubarov. He thanked the organizers and congratulated all those present at the opening of the forum, according to a QHA correspondent.
Vice-rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University and President of the Institute of Religion and Society Miroslav Marinović emphasized that Lviv was an important point on the map of the Resistance Movement (Rukh Oporu) in 1960-80-ies. And after the occupation of Crimea, the city became a new home for a number of Crimean Tatar refugees, so holding the Crimean forum here seems logical.
Soviet dissident, Russian human rights activist Sergei Kovalev, who arrived to the forum from Russia, pointed out that today the Helsinki Movement is in crisis.
“The first sad consideration that I brought, is what I represent here the core of the empire of evil - Russia. The second is that Helsinki movement is in crisis, and it is significant. This is one of the important circumstances of our meeting. Partially, the oblivion of this movement rests with the elder representatives, who did not provide inheritance,” Kovalev said in his welcoming speech.
Reference. Ukrainian Helsinki Group is the union of the Ukrainian human rights movement, formed in Ukraine, November 9, 1976. The group was active until 1981, when its members were imprisoned. 39 out of 41 UHG members served sentences in prisons, camps, exile and mental hospitals.
The group aimed in monitoring compliance with the Helsinki agreements by the Soviet government, which guaranteed respect for human rights.
On the 50000 rally in Lviv, July 7, 1988 the establishment of the Ukrainian Helsinki Union (UHS) was proclaimed on the basis of UHG, and Levko Lukyanenko was elected head.