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Crimean Human Rights Group Received OSCE Democracy Defender Award

Crimean Human Rights Group Received OSCE Democracy Defender Award. The delegations of Canada, Denmark, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States of America gave the 2024 Democracy Defender Award to the Crimean Human Rights Group for its remarkable contribution to supporting victims of human rights abuses and politically motivated persecutions in Crimea at the hands of the de facto Russian authorities.

The award was received by Olha Skrypnyk, CHRG Chairperson, at the event in Vienna. She thanked the OSCE delegation members for this award and support of Ukraine. Before starting her speech, the human rights defender asked to pay a minute’s tribute of silence to the memory of all military and civilians fallen in Ukraine.

During the ceremony, Olha Skrypnyk addressed everyone with the following speech:

‘Democracy Defender Award is not only a recognition of the Crimean Human Rights Group efforts, this is also a sign of the significance that the entire human rights movement in Ukraine has, of the paramount importance of those who today, in the territories occupied by Russia, are holding true to Ukraine and the values of democracy, risking their lives for the sake of having justice done. It is for this reason that the Russian military, Russian Guard, Russian FSB have been killing them, torturing them, depriving them of their liberty.

Many of my colleagues who have stood in defense of democratic changes in Ukraine – human rights defenders, journalists, activists – are today in the Ukrainian army. Because we haven’t got any other way to protect lives of people, defend human rights and the democratic world. Many of them have already died in battle.

The difference between Ukraine and Russia is simple: the Russian soldiers have come to kill children, and the Ukrainian soldiers have been defending children, sacrificing their lives.

Just this morning a russian attack killed 3 children in the Dnipro region.

I have two kids. The daughter is 5 years old, and the son is one and a half. He was born in September 2022 in Kyiv to the sounds of air raid alarms. My daughter goes to the kindergarten, and recently the kids were given a task: choose your favorite color and use it to paint what you want. My 5-year-old daughter chose purple.

What would you paint purple?

My 5-year-old daughter painted a purple tank. She explained: “Mom, this is a purple tank for military girls so they can shoot down Russian missiles. When I grow up, I want to become a military and shoot down Russian missiles so that our homes don’t get destroyed.” Ukrainian children have common dreams: military aircraft and air defense weapon, and that dad or mom return home from the war.

If we fail to stop Russia now, then soon thousands of children in other countries will also dream of tanks, missiles, and shells. Every kilometer of occupied Ukrainian land brings Putin’s army closer to the borders of other democratic countries.

The democratic world will collapse. The democratic world will fall if Ukraine is not able to win this war. Democracy is not a given, it does not exist by itself. Democracy must be fought for.

Today, we all have a historic chance to defend democracy and preserve the world built on the value of human life and human dignity. If we fail to do this now, it will not be only Russia, but the whole coalition of totalitarian powers and terrorist regimes that would come to destroy the democratic countries.

That is why we all need arms for Ukraine, right now, and in maximum quantities, we need bold decisions, and we should be aware of our own historical responsibility.

Слава Україні!’

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