Bishop calls for dialogue in Ukraine

Prelate calls for government to heed protestors

Ukraine is engaged in a “pilgrimage towards dignity”, a leading Greek Catholic prelate has said,

Responding to the scenes of violence which have brought international attention onto the capital Kiev, where protestors are engaged in demonstrations against President Viktor Yanukovych’s forming of closer ties to Russia, Bishop Borys Gudziak (pictured) denounced the violent actions of police to the protestors.

"The brutality of the special forces is rallying more and more of the population in an active role in this bid for dignity," the bishop said, further warning that the authorities were undermining their own legitimacy by their actions.

"The legitimacy of the Ukrainian government is predicated by respect for human rights,” he told Aid to the Church in Need. “That respect has been neglected and in some cases has been absent. Protestors have been shot and others have been beaten. The perpetrators of violence have not been brought to justice."

Calling on the government to engage immediately in dialogue with the people and for the international community to bring pressure to bear for such dialogue, Bishop Gudziak insisted that the protestors had legitimate concerns about their country’s future which had to be heard.

"The people are not out on the streets to campaign for a party or candidate – they are gathering around principles…Events in the last few months and days have been a pilgrimage in our battle for dignity. In the last two months, Ukraine has changed dramatically. The level of social consciousness has increased,” he stressed.