The United States congratulates Ukrainian civil society activist Oleksandra Matviychuk for winning the Democracy Defender Award – a prize given by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE. U.S. representative to the OSCE Daniel Baer praised Ms. Matviychuk for her "work on behalf of reform, accountability, human rights, and rule-of-law" in Ukraine.
Two years after Maidan, the work to make good on the promise of Ukraine's Revolution of Dignity goes on. "It is the voices of people like Oleksandra, of advocates and activists, of concerned patriots who refuse to live under the yoke of corruption for another generation," said Ambassador Baer, "who demand fairness and respect for human rights, who are committed to a unified, democratic, prosperous European Ukraine, it is these voices in their thousands and millions that inspire persistence and remind everyone that there is only one way forward, that there is no alternative to continuing the fight for reform and for a stronger Ukraine."
Ambassador Baer also commemorated the one-year anniversary of the shocking murder of Boris Nemtsov – gunned down in the shadow of the Kremlin on February 27, 2015. As "we commemorate one democratic activist slain for his ideals," said Ambassador Baer, "we honor another who carries on the mission shared by all those committed to liberty and human dignity everywhere."
The OSCE is founded on the fact that where human rights and fundamental freedoms are not respected, security and prosperity are unsustainable and fragile. The cause of human rights activists and independent journalists — who push for accountable and responsible government and demand rule-of-law, and call out violations for the cause of peace and prosperity. Their work contributes to building the kind of lasting peace that is grounded in respect for the dignity of every person.
The U.S. Mission, said Ambassador Baer, is honored to join with colleagues from over a dozen other delegations to the OSCE to celebrate democracy and human rights and looks forward to working together on the road ahead.