Ukrainian civil society presented principles, objectives and red lines for future Ukraine

Today, Ukrainian civil society members presented a ‘Civil Society Manifesto’ (Lugano Declaration) at the Civil Society Event held in the side-lines of the Ukraine Recovery Conference (URC2022) in Lugano on 4-5th July. Below is the full text of the Manifesto.

About a hundred public organizations of Ukraine signed the manifesto. The full list can be found at the link.

Below is the full text of the Manifesto:

Civil Society Manifesto 2022
(Lugano Declaration)

We, Ukrainian men and women of different origins, languages, education, worldviews and faiths, trades, and interests, are united by a common understanding of the severity of the challenge facing Ukraine and the world. We are driven by an immense desire to protect human beings and humanity and to prevent the terrible destruction of life, which is the greatest value of human civilisation.

We are aware that we are in the midst of a war for the independence of Ukraine, which for our EU neighbours is a war for European values, a war for a fairer world order for the people of the whole world, and a war that gives hope for the transformation of imperial Russia.

Each of the Maidans in 1990, 2004, and 2014 – just like today’s war – was a historic turning point that distanced us from a totalitarian legacy that had been instilled for generations and cost millions of lives. Instead, Ukrainian society has always made a clear and conscious demand for a peaceful life, a democratic system of governance, and a wide range of freedoms and prosperity – all valued in European societies.

Restoration of the infrastructure and of peaceful life in Ukraine should be carried out according to new standards, and should contribute to the sustainability of new institutions. The burden of war and the associated suffering should not motivate political elites and some members of society to support authoritarian systems of governance and seek populist solutions. Our modern history convincingly demonstrates that in critical moments, our partnerships and our state institutions must be strengthened by the involvement of civil society, networking initiatives, volunteer groups, and private initiatives, whose contributions make reforms sustainable and prevent their rollback.

Therefore, while recognising our diversity and differences of opinion, we want to declare common principles and a framework for the future, for which millions of Ukrainians risk their lives every day. Any decisions on the future system and rebuilding of Ukraine must meet the following criteria:

  1. Ukraine is a state with a European identity that shares common values and history with other European nations and considers itself part of the European family.
  2. Ukraine is a representative democracy with a competitive political process, political elites that rotate through a legal procedure, fair and free elections, freedom of speech and independent media, protected human rights, and capable local self-governance.
  3. Ukraine is an open market economy with equal rules for everyone, and minimal state intervention constrained by law.
  4. Ukraine is a protected area for the development of Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar cultures, as well as of the present diversity of different cultures and identities.
  5. Ukrainians are involved in decision-making process about their future at all levels. All decision-making processes are transparent and participatory. Decisions are discussed and made with a view to their long-term consequences.
  6. No one has a monopoly on decisions that affect everyone. Civil society is an important tool for citizens to participate in public life. National and local governments are open to interaction with civil society.

Red lines, the crossing of which is unacceptable under any circumstances as it entails existential risks for Ukraine and Ukrainians:

  1. Loss of state independence and territorial integrity, deportation of citizens, refusal to protect human rights.
  2. Freezing the conflict or postponing its resolution, which will make it possible for the Russian Federation to recover and get stronger to continue the war against Ukraine or create obstacles to Ukraine’s development.
  3. Destruction or oppression of the identity, culture, language, rights and freedoms of citizens.
  4. Dismantling of democratic institutions, systems of checks and balances, rejection of the democratic process, or their manipulation.
  5. Enhanced government interventionism in the economy.
  6. Reduced transparency in public administration, expanding of practices that give rise to corruption.
  7. Rejection of European and Euro-Atlantic integration.

Priority tasks for the development of Ukraine:

  1. Restoration and strengthening of the national security, including through accession to the system of collective security.
  2. Restoration and protection of human security, including from the totalitarian legacy of Soviet practices in the Ukrainian political system; creating conditions for the return of citizens who have been forced to leave their homes or have been deported or taken prisoner.
  3. Protection and development of a democratic system of government, political rights and freedoms of citizens.
  4. Establishing the rule of law, creating an independent judicial system based on integrity, and an efficient and fair system of law enforcement.
  5. Holistic development of human capital, modernisation of science and education system, healing of historical trauma, enhancement of respect for human dignity.
  6. Protection of all kinds of property rights and encouragement of all private initiatives that create conditions for the free development of entrepreneurship.
  7. Development of local self-governance and subsidiarity in public administration.
  8. Recovery of the population and of the natural environment beyond historical records, modernisation of the economy and infrastructure, European integration.

All and every action aimed at helping Ukraine at this crucial moment in history must meet the criteria above. Defining the vision of post-war Ukraine, the strategy of reconstruction and modernisation, and specific plans and projects at all levels should not take place in a narrow circle and under the pressure of current circumstances, but in an open, transparent, inclusive way, involving relevant stakeholders. In all our diversity, we – volunteers, activists, entrepreneurs, businesspeople, professionals – are united by a common desire to implement these principles because this is our contribution to a common future.

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