Human Rights First Condemns Antisemitic Actions in Ukrainian City
Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First condemns reports that Jews in Eastern Ukraine are being asked to register with regional authorities or risk deportation. The organization urges authorities to investigate who is responsible for it, and all parties should unequivocally condemn the provocation.
“Such an action – reminiscent of pogroms and the Holocaust – is a provocation that undermines peace, security and the protection of human rights in eastern Ukraine,” said Human Rights First’s Tad Stahnke, who is just back from Hungary where he researched the rise of extremist and antisemitic political parties in Eastern Europe. “The issue of antisemitism in Ukraine has been manipulated by the Russians and others inside the country. This also undermines stability in Ukraine.”
The current Ukrainian government includes the ultra-nationalist Svoboda party, some of whose leaders have made antisemitic statements in the past. The United States and other international backers of Ukrainian sovereignty should work to ensure that the Ukrainian government is continuing to take steps to unify the country, and will find no political advantage from divisive rhetoric or violence against any minority community. Monitors have not reported an increase in antisemitic attacks in areas under government control since the ouster of Viktor Yanukovich.
A Human Rights First team recently traveled to Hungary and Greece to investigate the implications of the rise of the far-right parties on human rights. In the recent Hungarian parliamentary election, one in five voters cast a ballot for the extremist party Jobbik, whose members frequently espouse antisemitic comments.
“As Russia strives to influence more countries in Eastern Europe, the United States must be on guard against the spread of antisemitism and extremism,” noted Stahnke.