Kuchma hid the State administrative department, what hides Yushchenko now?

“State power bodies have no right to establish any limitations regarding providing information if this information cannot damage public interests according to the Constitution”, – states the open letter of the Kharkiv group for human rights, circulated today at a press-conference in Kyiv.

Representatives of the public campaign “Pora”, Maidan Alliance, Kharkiv group for human rights, and Ukrainian Helsinki union for human rights expressed their protest against the usage of illegal stamps (“no publishing”, “for official use”, “not for publishing”) by the state power bodies which limit the citizen’s right for information.

Issuing documents with such stamps, according to human rights activists, is illegal since their application is not presupposed by any legislative act (except for the “for official use” stamp that was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers in the Resolution No 1813 dated November 27, 1998. However, it doesn’t contain the list of data this stamp can be applied to either).

Anxiety of the human rights activists was caused by the fact that Viktor Yushchenko signed at least 23 decrees stamped “no publishing”. “The previous power hid under such stamps lobby political agreements, corruption, personnel appointments and material awards to the highest officials”, – they say.

It is proved by the decrees of the President opened by Yuliya Tymoshenko at the end of 2002 No1180/2002 dated December 17, 2002 “About the Status of the State administrative department” and No 1213 dated December 24, 2002 “About additional measures regarding material maintenance of the employees of the Higher Council of Justice”, etc.

And recently Valentyna Semeniuk informed about a governmental decree stamped “not for publishing” regarding privatization.

According to Yevhen Zakharov, Head of the Ukrainian Helsinki Union for Human Rights, co-chairman of the Kharkiv group for human rights, unofficial but trustworthy sources informed that one of the decrees approved on January 28 concerns the authorities distribution between the government and the Council of National Safety and Defense. Particularly, the Council of National Safety and Defense will control the sphere of information and all force structures. “If it’s the truth, it’s a very bitter truth: one cannot distribute the executive power competence by secret decrees, these are anti-constitutional actions!”, – he stressed.

In the opinion of the participants of the press-conference, inheriting the practice of secret decrees issuing contradicts with the declared principles of the new power regarding the transparency of its activity, ensuring the priority of human rights and freedoms.

“However, even if the documents are stamped: “no publishing”, “for official use”, “not for publishing”, then on the legislative level special procedures of approving and removing (recalling) these stamps are to be worked out, grounds for these actions are to be defined”, – Yevhen Zakharov says.

The participants of the press-conference expressed their hope that such a “secret” misunderstanding is a consequence of inertia of the previous staff of the Presidential Administration. In their opinion, these decrees are to be either opened or cancelled.

“This practice is not worthy of the new power”, – they suppose. And in case of the President’s or government’s inactivity regarding the liquidation of illegal cryptment, the human rights activists are ready to start more radical actions, like organizing mass public protests and appealing the court regarding the illegal actions of the state.

 Olena Holiuk

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