Author of “biometric” law gets Gold Thistle of the Year Anti-Award

Marking Human Rights Day, 10 December, the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union has announced the “laureates” of its annual Thistle of the Year Anti-Award for the most flagrant violators of human rights in the given year.

Party of the Regions MP Vasyl Hrytsak has received the “Gold Thistle” for the most flagrant intrusion into privacy and for the most dangerous legislative initiative in the field of human rights. This is over the Law on a Unified State Demographic Register which gives the SSAPS consortium closely linked with Hrytsak the chance to make huge profit at Ukrainians’ expense, forcing them to obtain around 13 biometric documents. The law also introduces a single database, without proper protection, with different authorities sharing an unlimited amount of confidential information about each Ukrainian citizen, their signature, biometric details, etc. Hrytsak first received a Thistle of the Year for much the same legislative initiative in 2007.

Other “laureates”

The Central Election Committee for numerous and flagrant violations of citizens’ electoral rights;

The National Bank of Ukraine for politically motivated infringements of property rights over the artificial liquidation of the Basis Bank belonging to opposition politician Arsen Avakov;

The Kharkiv City Council and Kharkiv District Administrative Court for brazen infringement of the right to peaceful assembly;

President Yanukovych and Parliamentary Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn for contempt for Ukraine’s Constitution and legislation, in particular over their signing of two laws: the Law on the Principles of State Language Policy and the Law on Public Procurement (which removes State enterprises from tender procedure).

The Thistle of the Year anti-award was begun in 2006 in order to draw public attention to flagrant abuses of human rights committed by the State during the particular year and to stimulate public discussion regarding dangerous trends with regard to human rights in the country.

More information about the reasons for the above ignominous awards as well as about the other nominees can be found here.

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