UHHRU presents materials on combating hate crimes

On 28 May 2019, the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union took part in the presentation of a hate crimes practical guide of OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. During the discussion the guide, Maksym Petrov, UHHRU’s Project Coordinator for the Protection of LGBTQI Rights, presented new UHHRU’s materials dedicated to the analysis of hate crimes in Ukraine. These manuals are still actual in 2020.

The event was attended by representatives of state bodies (National Police of Ukraine, Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine), civil society (Social Action Center, LGBT Human Rights Center Nash Mir, Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, UMDPL Association, Coalition of Roma NGOs, and UHHRU) as well as international organizations (Freedom House, International Renaissance Foundation, OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, ODIHR).

Maksym Petrov noted the high quality of the performed work: ODIHR’s recommendations are written in an accessible language, cover the full range of issues related to the categorizing and investigating of hate crimes and are useful to law enforcement as well to NGOs.

In order to speed up the guide’s implementation, it is necessary to unite the efforts of all stakeholders, develop an action plan for their implementation and start realizing it as soon as possible.

When talking about the guide’s practical application, Maksym Petrov pointed out that in March-May 2019 UHHRU also developed methodological recommendations on human rights protection.

In its materials on combating SOGI-related hate crimes, UHHRU recommends improving the existing methodology for investigating such crimes (taking into account international standards, particularly ODIHR recommendations for Ukraine), as well as developing regulations for law enforcement based on international standards, ODIHR recommendations for Ukraine in particular, as well as indicating hate-related elements to help with correct classification, detailing all duties of investigators under Article 214 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

A new material prepared by UHHRU experts contains, among other things, an analysis of law enforcement responses to SOGI-related hate crimes and attacks on LGBTQI activists, with recommendations for Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and National Police to do the following:

  1. Amend current legislative acts;
  2. Take measures to improve communication and knowledge among police officers;
  3. Take measures to improve transparency and monitor the activities of law enforcement.

These recommendations concern the actions of patrol police officers, members of investigative teams, investigators and representatives of other law enforcement units.

Another part of the material provides the algorithm of actions that law enforcement officers should adhere to during LGBTQI public events.

As Maksym Petrov pointed out, the study prompted UHHRU experts to develop methodologies for both internal and public oversight of the actions of police officers when it comes to the observance of the rights of the LGBTQI community, which will soon be tested in regions.

The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union is implementing the project “Countering radicalism and populism, protecting the rights of the LGBTQI community, organizations and initiative groups that protect LGBTQI rights and combat discrimination, through educational and advocacy activities” with the support of the Democracy Commission of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine.

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