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An Open Letter to the governments of the United States, Ukraine & Odessa regarding the upcoming events in Odessa on May 2, 2018

The Odessa Solidarity Campaign is calling on the federal governments of Ukraine and the United States and the city government of Odessa to ensure that the civic rights of those attending the upcoming May 2 memorial in Odessa are respected, including the delegations of international monitors who will be present on that day.

On May 2, a memorial will be held in Odessa, Ukraine, to honor the scores of pro-democracy activists who were brutally murdered on that date four years ago in the city’s House of Trade Unions. Ever since the massacre, representatives of the families of those who died have held frequent vigils to honor the memory of their loved ones.

All over the world, people recognize the right of families to honor their dead. This is even more true when those who died were victims of senseless violence. And yet in Odessa these memorials are often harassed by right-wing groups. On April 26, representatives of four neo-Nazi organizations held a press conference in Odessa to discuss their plans to hold a «March of the Ukrainian Order» in that city on May 2. Present were representatives of National Corps, Right Sector, Svoboda and Street Front. Also present was a representative of the Vienna-based  Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

During the press conference, the member of National Corps stated that no one should be held responsible for the massacre of May 2, since those who died were not really “people.” This is the same view that the Nazis expressed to justify their extermination of millions of Jews, Roma, Slavs and others

The tragedy of Odessa and the continuing danger of right-wing violence in that beautiful city is of great concern to decent-minded people around the world. That is why many organizations are organizing solidarity actions to take place on May 2 in 22 cities in 13 countries: In Europe: Bern, Berlin, Budapest, Copenhagen, Dublin, The Hague, Hamburg, London, Malmö, Moscow, Prague, Rome, Sevastopol, Stockholm and Vienna. And in the United States: Albany, Blacksburg, Minneapolis, New York City, Richmond, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

On May 2, the world will know what is happening in Odessa.

At a formal meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Committee held on March 21, 2016, in Geneva, family members and supporters of the victims of May 2 asked the committee to initiate a long-overdue impartial investigation into the events of May 2, 2014. For their part, the right-wing forces expressed their opposition to such an investigation. This contradiction alone should make clear which side wants the truth to be revealed and which side wants it to remain hidden. Today we reiterate our support for such an investigation.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

For a World of Justice & Peace for All,

Phil Wilayto

Coordinator, Odessa Solidarity Campaign

Richmond, Virginia, USA

May 1, 2018

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