Activities of the Commission on Human Rights of the World Congress of Free Ukrainians (1970-1980)

Keywords: human rights, Commission on Human Rights, dissidents, Ukrainian SSR, Canada

Abstract

The goal of the paper is to analyze the activities of the Commission on Human Rights of the World Congress of Free Ukrainians (WCFU), aimed at drawing the attention of the world community to human rights violations in the Ukrainian SSR in the 1970s – 1980s.

The scientific novelty of the study is that on the basis of archival documents and published memoirs the activity of the Commission of the Human Rights of the WCFU is fully highlighted, and the main directions of its activity are determined.

After the establishment of the WCFU, the problem of human rights violations in the Ukrainian SSR took a prominent place in its activities. The idea of creating a special Commission on Human Rights arose during the International Conference under the auspices of the United Nations in Tehran in 1968, dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adoption. As a result, a Commission on Human Rights was established in 1972 to coordinate human rights activities within the framework of the WCFU and for many years it was headed by Canadian senator of Ukrainian descent Pavlo Yuzyk. In general, Ukrainian community in Canada has played a key role in the Commission’s activities, which was determined in particular by the place of its permanent residence in Toronto.

The main efforts of the Commission on Human Rights were aimed at informing the world community about the facts of human rights violations in the Ukrainian SSR by publishing relevant materials in English, French, and other languages, organizing mass events (demonstrations, press conferences), sending appeals to international human rights organizations and statesmen of Western states with requests to defend the persecuted Ukrainian dissidents. Campaigns to protect Ukrainian dissident prisoners, the members of Ukrainian Public Group to Promote the Implementation of the Helsinki Accords, were among the taken measures. During the Helsinki Process, the work of the Commission on Human Rights gained a new impetus, and its representatives took part in the Review Meetings of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE). The experience of these conferences confirmed the need for systematic, verified, and complete information on the human rights situation in the Soviet Union. With this in mind, the WCFU’s Human Rights Commission began periodically issuing notifications reviewing human rights violations behind the Iron Curtain and sent them to Western government officials. Through its actions, the WCFU Commission on Human Rights contributed to the constant pressure of the world community on the Soviet leadership because of its systematic human rights violations.

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Published
01.10.2020
How to Cite
SiromskyiR. (2020). Activities of the Commission on Human Rights of the World Congress of Free Ukrainians (1970-1980). Eminak: Scientific Quarterly Journal, (3(31), 234-242. https://doi.org/10.33782/eminak2020.3(31).454
Section
World History and International Relations