Human rights activists have named key human rights violators in 2013

The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union presented an annual report of the human rights organizations ‘Human Rights in Ukraine 2013’*. In this report, human rights activists have listed key human rights violators of 2013, including ex-President of Ukraine, law enforcement agencies, the Security Service of Ukraine and Ukrainian courts.

Human rights activists named the ex-President and his team, who robbed the country, as the biggest human rights violators in 2013, next come the Ukrainian law enforcement agencies, whose size is 1.5 times larger than the European average.

Authors of the report point out that the Ukrainian Interior Ministry has its own armed forces beyond the Defense Minister’s control and at any moment can act as an independent player in implementing the country’s military doctrine.

The events of 2013 have clearly demonstrated that the law enforcement use the interior troops to protect public order. This completely contradicts Article 17 of the Constitution, according to which ‘nobody can use any military units to restrict rights and freedoms of citizens.’

During peaceful assemblies, law enforcement officers mainly responded violently similar to the manner in which they operate during riots. In particular, this included numerous cases when peaceful rallies were terminated due to insignificant violations of public order by some rally participants.

Even while publicly addressing the law enforcement officers, the Minister of Interior used the word ‘activists’ as a synonym for ‘storm troopers’ and ‘provocateurs’, and those who call for a special attention on the part of the officers.

The Security Service of Ukraine also features as a prominent human rights violator. Alongside the Interior Ministry, the powers that be used it as a tool for political persecution of the regime’s opponents.

The judiciary also features among the leading human rights violators. The Ukrainian servants of justice proved to be dependent and politically-biased. Human rights activists found that there are almost no verdicts on violations in decisions, action or inaction by the President or other higher authorities and officials. One of the reasons for this was the mechanism of disciplinary responsibility used to put pressure on judges.

The report contains detailed recommendations for the authorities in area of human, which the new government should urgently implement in order to protect democracy and promote human rights.

In particular, according to Yevgen Zakharov, Director of the Kharkiv Human Rights Group, the most important task of the current government is to conduct judiciary and law enforcement reforms.

*The report ‘Human Rights in Ukraine’ is a comprehensive instrument used by national and international organizations to assess the overall human rights situation in Ukraine. It is published annually since 2004. Over 30 human rights organizations from all regions of Ukraine are involved in compiling the report.

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