In the Verkhovna Rada, the concept of returning captives was introduced

Human rights defenders and relatives of victims of the fighting in the East presented the concept of the return of Ukrainian captives to Andrii Parubii.

On April 12, 2017, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine held a series of meetings with relatives of captives and missing persons in the course of the conflict in eastern Ukraine.


The events were held with the participation of experts of the Strategic Litigations Center of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union and the Media Initiative for Human Rights. They invited families of the victims. The purpose of the meetings was to draw attention to the problems of victims of the conflict, violations of the rights of relatives of victims by the state bodies and delay in the exchange of captives.


At the meeting, Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Andrii Parubii, representatives of MPs’ factions and experts of UHHRU and MIHR discussed the problem of Ukrainian captives, who are currently under the control of the Russian Federation as a result of the military aggression. Relatives of captives supported the position of experts and asked the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada to consider the presented proposals.

Alina Pavliuk (UHHRU)
Alina Pavliuk (UHHRU)

Alina Pavliuk, a lawyer of the Strategic Litigations Center of UHHRU, said that the key to the solution of the problem lies in the fact of recognition of the armed conflict by Ukraine.

‘Only then we can talk about the definition of the status of captives and missing persons. In addition, the return of people must be the ultimate goal, but within the political bargaining. Families get tired to fight, especially when they do not feel support. They do not need empty words, they need real actions,’ the human rights defender said.

Mariia Tomak, a coordinator of the Media Initiative for Human Rights, noted that there is nothing new that the very sensitive topics are being used in the political struggle.

‘This is what we saw yesterday – the struggle for who would to appropriate the theme of “patronage” of captives and prisoners. This competition does not help most families of the victims. But the main thing is that I personally see neither political will nor desire to bring systemic changes to the situation around illegally detained citizens of Ukraine. It seems that all are satisfied,’ said Mariia Tomak.

The coordinator of the Media Initiate for Human Rights said that the meeting was very important, despite the fact that the situation continues to be difficult.

‘It is important, of course, to inform the head of the Supreme Council and representatives of different factions about the concept that we developed; it is important that relatives of soldiers who are in captivity had the opportunity to ask SSU and MPs, but it’s hard to get rid of the feeling of a vicious circle’, summarized Maria Tomak.

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