Prosecutor General has no idea what confidential information is

In June 2009 Ukraine violated one of the fundamental principles regarding the protection of refugees’ rights, the principle of confidentiality, by passing information contained in refugees’ files to the country of their origin. This resulted in criminal cases being opened against people who had provided testimony about persecution of the refugees in Kazakhstan.

This violation prompted an appeal from the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
UHHRU has received responses from both the President’s Secretariat and the Prosecutor General’s Office [PGO]. The former only stated that the appeal had been forwarded to the PGO.

In their turn the Prosecutor General’s Office informed UHHRU that they had indeed passed on information about the Kazakhstan nationals to the Prosecutor General in Kazakhstan.

Their letter reads:
“In 2008 the Security Service [SBU] responded to an international investigation request for information from the investigative committee of the Kazakhstan Ministry of Internal Affairs on providing legal assistance in criminal cases investigated by Kazakhstan competent bodies with regard to Z. Baisakov, Y. Baisakov, S. Gorbenko, A. Zhekebaev and O. Lukin over criminal acts committed by them on the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan.”

“The Prosecutor General’s Office does not have any information regarding violation of the requirements of current legislation in providing international legal assistance in the above-mentioned criminal cases.”

We are forced to remind the Prosecutor General that the principle of confidentiality is a foundation of protection of refugees’ rights and its violation can lead to a breakdown of the entire system of protection of refugees. In its Opinion № 91(LII) – 2001 the Executive Committee of the UNHCR states that “The registration process should abide by the fundamental principles of confidentiality”. It also stresses “the confidential nature of personal data and the need to continue to protect confidentiality».

The SBU and Public Prosecutor have once again flagrantly violated the rights of refugees and Ukraine’s international commitments, while the President’s Secretariat passively watches and does nothing.

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