“I am concerned by the fact that the pro-government majority seems to have pushed through legislation that could restrict freedom of assembly and stigmatise civil society organisations. We expect President Yanukovich to reject any amendments to legislation that contravene Ukraine’s international obligations. The legislation that was passed yesterday is therefore worrying. Under no circumstances should it be used as grounds for taking action against peaceful protesters,” said Mr Brende.
There have been widespread demonstrations in Ukraine since 21 November, when the authorities reversed their decision to enter into an Association Agreement with the EU. On 16 January, the Ukrainian parliament adopted a number of controversial laws that may have far-reaching consequences for freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, as well as for Ukrainian civil society in general. By passing these laws, Ukraine has clearly distanced itself from European values and an Association Agreement with the EU.