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HELSINKI GUARANTIES FOR UKRAINE COMMITTEE

15.11.2006

The Helsinki Guaranties for Ukraine Committee was formed in Washington at the initiative of the Information Service of “Smoloskyp” on 17 November 1976, immediately after the creation of the Ukrainian Public Group to Promote the Implementation of the Helsinki Accords (The Ukrainian Helsinki Group).

On 21 November O. ZINKEVYCH informed the head of the UHG Mykola RUDENKO of the creation of the Committee and agreed to work together, with the Committee representing the UHG in the West.  The Committee was headed by the Chair of the Board of “Smoloskyp” Dr Andriy Zvarun (New York), and its members were the representatives of committees in America in support of Ukrainian political prisoners – Andriy Fedynsky (Cleveland), Ulyana Marurkevych (Philadelphia), Dr Ihor Koshman (New Jersey), Bohdan Yasen (Yury Sayevych, Washington), Osyp ZINKEVYCH (Baltimore), Ihor Olshanivsky (Newark), Andriy Karkots (Minneapolis), Yury Deichakivsky and Andriy Hrushkevych (Washington), and Marusya Zarytska and Myroslava Stefanyuk (Detroit).

The Washington Committee managed to receive, bypassing the censors, from M. RUDENKO, O. BERDNYK, O. MESHKO and General P. GRIGORENKO virtually all the UHG memoranda and a number of other documents. These were immediately translated into English and brought to the attention of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Helsinki Committee of the Commission of the USA Congress and of the Canadian Parliament, and circulated among western human rights organizations and the press.

Members of the Committee served as interpreters for members of the UHG who ended up in the West during their testimony before the US Congress. The following took an active role in various international conferences: Andriy Fedynsky in the UHG conference in London (May 1977); Andriy Karkots – in the conference of writers of Europe, USA and Canada in Sofia (February 1977); Dr Taras Zakydalsky, Petro Fedynsky, Andriy Hrushkevych, Oksana Ishchuk, Arkady Zinkevych – in the International Conference of Psychiatrists in Hawaii (August – September, 1977); Yury Myskiv, Ulyana Olshanivska, Arkady Zinkevych – with an exhibition of UHG documents and material at the Congress of Slavists in Washington (October 1977); Petro Kachmar, Yury Myskiv, O. Burdyak, Zirka Lutska – with UHG material and protest appeals during the Soviet exhibition in Los Angeles to mark the 60th anniversary of the USSR; Andriy Zvarun, Bohdan Yasen, Ihor and Bozhena Olshanivsky, Ulyana Marurkevych and Andriy Karkots were in constant contact with the US State Department and American congressmen over imprisoned members of the UHG and repression in Ukraine. As a result of this cooperation, all documents of the UHG were published in anthologies of the Helsinki Commission of the US Congress.

The Helsinki Guaranties for Ukraine Committee organized press conferences in connection with trials of UHG members in Ukraine: on the day of the trial of Mykola RUDENKO and Oleksa TYKHY, the press conference being held in Belgrade in June 1977 (the organizers of the press conference, Andriy Fedynsky, Adam Mishtal, Andriy Kartots, were arrested and deported from Yugoslavia); in March 1978 there was another press conference in Belgrade (its organizers Andriy Karkots, Boris Antonovych and Zirka Lutska were detained and deported from Yugoslavia); in April 1978 in connection with the trial of Myroslav MARYNOVYCH and Mykola MATUSEVYCH the Committee organized a press conference in Washington with the participation of P. GRIGORENKO.  Committee members: Andriy Fedynsky, Andriy Karkots and Oles Kham from Argentina acted as interpreters and active participants in the Helsinki Conference in Madrid (November 1980), which was attended by the representatives of the UHG abroad: General Petro GRIGORENKO, Nina STROKATA, Leonid PLYUSHCH, Volodymyr MALYNKOVYCH and representative of the Human Rights Committee of the World Congress of Free Ukrainians Krystyna Isayiv.

Through the joint efforts of the External Representation of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group and human rights committees from Philadelphia (Ulyana Marurkevych) and Newark (Bozhena Olshanivska), and with the active help of member of the Helsinki Commission of the US Congress Orest Deichakivsky, the 5th anniversary of the founding of the UHG was observed in the US Congress on 16 November 1981.  Addresses were given by P. GRIGORENKO, N. STROKATA and V. MALYNKOVYCH, and Nadiya SVITLYCHNA also took part. The Committee was represented by Andriy Karkots.

Information about the work of the Helsinki Guaranties for Ukraine Committee and particular measures was publicized to the whole world by western press agencies, with a lot of articles and reports in the foreign language press.

Osyp Zinkevych

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