“The banning of the Communist Party in Ukraine sets a very dangerous precedent. This move is propelling Ukraine backwards not forwards on its path to reform and greater respect for human rights,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director of Europe and Central Asia.
The Ukrainian authorities previously sought to ban the Communist Party last year.
Shortly after the end of the EuroMaydan protests in early 2014, the Party was accused of financing pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. The Security Service of Ukraine claimed it had provided evidence of this to the Ministry of Justice, which then filed a motion to ban the Party in July 2014.
The proceedings never took place because the appointed judge pulled out of the case earlier this year, citing pressure from the authorities who had searched his office and confiscated files relating to the case.
The moves by the Ukrainian authorities to ban the Communist Party solely on account of its name and use of Soviet-era symbols violates the rights to freedom of expression and association and sets a dangerous precedent in Ukrainian political life.
In 2015 a spate of politically motivated killings remain unresolved and journalists and media known for criticising the current government have been harassed.
“Today’s decision may be seen by its proponents as dealing with the damaging vestiges of the Soviet past. In fact, it does exactly the opposite by following the same style of draconian measures used to stifle dissent,” said John Dalhuisen.
“Expressing your opinion without fear of prosecution, particularly if that opinion is contrary to the views held by those in position of power, was one of the principles behind the EuroMaydan protests. Snuffing out the Communist party flies in the face of these ideals.”