Last night, the National Police found an improvised explosive device under the door of the apartment belonging to activist Vitalii Shabunin’s mother in Rivne.
This is not the first time when the life of the head of the Anti-Corruption Action Center and his loved ones have been in jeopardy. In the summer of this year, unknown individuals set fire to his house. Back then, Vitalii, his wife and children were not inside, and his parents managed to run out of the building.
“Both these cases attest to the fact that activists are not safe. Both arson and explosives are no longer intimidation or threats, but a real encroachment on life. The fact that not a single perpetrator has been punished or even identified in the past five years shows that the government is incapable or unwilling to guarantee activists’ safety,” says TI Ukraine’s Executive Director Andrii Borovyk.
In recent years, significant pressure on civil society has evidently intensified — there have been threats, beatings and even killings. At the same time, law enforcement agencies are reluctant to investigate these crimes, often hampering the search for perpetrators altogether, thus encouraging them. The same danger now awaits not only representatives of civil society, but also their families, which is already particularly threatening.
We call on the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Prosecutor General’s Office to return to the proper performance of their duties and to provide protection to public activists and other Ukrainians.