The former Chornobyl clean-up workers are a big problem for the present government

Government comes up with new form of pressure on Chornobyl clean-up workers. The situation effectively demonstrates the state’s inability to carry out what is prescribed by law. Those in power are trying through any means to reduce the size of those guarantees by hand, depending on how much money they have at their disposal.

They’ve also thought up a way of fighting the “especially disgruntled”.  For example, the Health Ministry has made public draft Regulations on the system for expert assessments for establishing the connection between diseases and radiation and other harmful factors resulting from the Chornobyl Disaster. The Regulations will give the relevant commission the right to review decisions taken to establish any new information regarding the status of a person who suffered as a result of the Chornobyl accident. 

So what new details can appear after more than a quarter of a century?

The Deputy Head of the Kharkiv branch of Chornobyl Union of Ukraine, Volodymyr Proskurin considers that this legal norm will be used by the authorities against former Chornobyl clean-up workers who don’t buckle under in order to reconsider their status, reduce their authority and have an additional lever against them.

The Regulations also say that the civic organizations taking part in the review of status shall be stipulated by the Cabinet of Ministers. This is in breach of Article 36 of the Constitution since it is dividing organizations, at the discretion of the government, into those to have access to confidential information, and those who may not. Questions also arise regarding wrongful use of personal information, including medical records.

It is also worrying that the document gives civic organizations of former Chornobyl clean-up workers the right to make submissions to specialized medical commissions with objections against the status of victims of the Chornobyl Diaster. Since there are certain organizations of former Chornobyl clean-up workers that are dependent on the State, this could also give a lever for pressure on those unhappy with state policy.

Maxim Shcherbatyuk warns that the mechanism for reviewing the status of Chornobyl clean-up workers will be used not so much to find out who unwarrantedly received that status, but as a form of pressure on those who do not accept the policy of the State in this area.

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