Human rights activists will assert human rights at any government

When Ukraine gained its independence the situation with human rights was a bit improved, but still is catastrophic. In the opinion of Henadiy Udovenko, the head of the Committee of the Supreme Rada of Ukraine on human rights, national minorities and international relations, the government that headed the country during the last ten years did everything to abuse human rights.

A considerable drawback of the human rights movement in this situation, in the opinion of his representatives, was the fact that by this time on behalf of the public society of Ukraine there was not a thorough report describing on the high level the situation with human rights in our country.  

Conducting in spring last year the First Forum of public organizations for human rights was a substantial step on the way of correcting mistakes. Having concentrated at that time on the problem that became one of the most serious in the Ukrainian society, human rights at elections, the Forum stimulated active human rights activity in this direction and made grounds for a complex research of the human rights state in the country by human rights organizations. 

Recently, during the second Forum of public organizations for human rights of Ukraine the human rights activists headed by the Ukrainian Helsinki Union for human rights presented the first report, which is to become annual, about the state of human rights in Ukraine. In the report materials on activity of human rights organizations, information from mass media and also information provided by governmental bodies are used. International standards in a definite sphere, and also keeping to the Ukrainian legislation and its conformity to such standards served as criteria of evaluating keeping to human rights and freedoms. The report provides researches in over twenty most important spheres where human rights are violated.   

It should be mentioned that the report on human rights is not merely a statement of facts, it has a practical importance, since it contains concrete recommendations to governmental organizations for improving the situation with keeping to and protection of human rights. Similar reports are a traditional means of informing the society about human rights and fundamental freedoms violations aiming at removing these violations and improving situation generally.

As it was pointed out during the forum, despite the fact that after the presidential election the situation with human rights was a bit improved, human rights activists will still have a lot to do. The only thing that can change, according to Roman Romanov, manager of the program of the International Renaissance Foundation “Supremacy of Law”, is the form of activity.

According to Yevhen Zakharov, the new government will not manage to leave the practice of administrative pressure on citizens from the direction of the state, the problems with the strict criminal-legal policy, freedom of speech will remain topical in the nearest future.

The statement about impossibility of reducing the sphere of activity of human rights activists was also confirmed by the Ombudsman Nina Karpachova. She said, now she receives not less complaints for human rights violations than at the old government.

In the opinion of Henadiy Udovenko, it’s time for the Ukrainian society to at last reach putting human rights, not rights of the state, a priority of the Ukrainian government. In addition, Henadiy Udovenko pointed out with regret that he was almost one hundred percent sure that there would be no feedback to the presented report from the government. Well, time will show. 

Among other, participants of the forum discussed one of the most topical current problems – limited access to information. In the near future human rights activists plan to start an active campaign on studying access to information of governmental bodies, both on central and regional levels, and active counteraction to the eternal wish of the government – to conceal its activity. 

Thus human rights activists are going to work tirelessly. The report presented to the society just proved that the situation with human rights in Ukraine leaves much to be desired, therefore human rights organizations will further monitor the government and actively counteract its encroachments on human rights and fundamental freedoms.

“The funeral of the Ukrainian post-communism remainder”, according to Vaclav Gavel, took place during the revolution. Now it is necessary to make efforts to augment the democratic values the green shoots of which so confidently appeared in the Ukrainian society.

Olena Holiuk


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