- Ukrainian Helsinki Group
The Ukrainian Helsinki Group was founded in November 1976 to monitor
human rightsin Ukraine. [ [http://archive.khpg.org.ua/en/index.php?id=1127288239 Museum of dissident movement in Ukraine] ] The group was active until 1981 when all members were jailed.
The group's goal was to monitor the Soviet Government's compliance with the
Helsinki Accords, which ensure human rights. The members of the group based the group's legal viability on the provision in the Helsinki Final Act, Principle VII, which established the rights of individuals to know and act upon their rights and duties.
From the very early days the group endured the repressions of Soviet authorities. Four of its 10 founding members were sent to prison for participating in human rights work. [http://web.archive.org/web/20060520012216/http://www.ukrweekly.com/Archive/1986/458609.shtml 10th Anniversary of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group] , "
Ukrainian Weekly", November 9, 1986.]
Since 1977 the Ukrainian Helsinki Group foreign affiliate began its activities with the participation of Petro Hryhorenko,
Nadiya Svitlychna, Leonid Plyushch and later Nina Strokata-Karavanska [http://www.hro.org/editions/hrperm/12.htm Human rights network, in Russian] ] Nadiya Svitlichna began to host the human rights themed radio programs on Svoboda radio.
At the end of 1979, six members of the group were forcibly sent to emigration, other Ukrainian dissidents were not allowed to emigrate. Soviet authorities used even punitive medicine in their efforts to restrict human rights movement. Some Ukrainian Helsinki Group members (Oksana Meshko, Vasyl Stus, Petro Sichko and his son Vasyl) experienced the threat of psychiatric terror. Hanna Mykhailenko, who was a sympathizer of the Group, had been incarcerated in a psychiatric prison in 1980. Underutilization of medical care in Soviet camps and prisons later caused the deaths of UHG members Oleksiy Tykhy and Vasyl Stus.
In 1982 the Initiative Group for the Defense of Believers and the Church was established, which considered itself a part of the Helsinki movement in Ukraine. The organizers of it, Yosyp Terelia and Vasyl Kobryn were both sentenced in 1985.
Some political prisoners from outside Ukraine (Estonian Mart Niklus and Lithuanian Viktoras Petkus) announced their symbolical membership in Group in 1983.
By the estimations of Vasyl Ovsyenko, the Group involved 41 persons in total. About 27 of them were sentenced by Soviet authorities to prisons and camps directly for their membership in the association. They spent altogether about 170 years in prisons, mental hospitals and exile.
In 2004, the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union was established as association of public human rights organizations.
Patriarch Volodomyr (Romaniuk)
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Moscow Helsinki Group
* [http://www.helsinki.org.ua/en/index.php Ukrainian Helsinki Human rights Union]
* [http://olexa.org.ua/ukr/helsinki/index.htm Ukrainian Helsinki Group] - Documents, Members, Chronology uk icon
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