Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union Reported Major Trend of Human Rights Violation in Ukraine during 2014

Human rights defenders state that Crimea occupation by Russian troops, artificially maintained separatist movements in the East gradually turned into armed aggression, and full-scale military conflict with Russian Federation in Regions of Donetsk and Lugansk have put the human rights problems to the backstage.

The representatives of Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union distinguish the following negative trends in human rights sphere in 2014:

–           contempt towards judicial power and desire to control it;

–           none of the necessary reforms in the human rights sphere – judicial, criminal justice, educational or another one – has not been practically commenced. The sole exception was the approval of new Prosecution Service Law;

–           the Law “On Lustration” appears to be more populist one, and some of its provisions contradict to recommendations of the Council of Europe, practice of European Court of Human Rights for lustration cases and principles of the international right. In particular, it stipulates total discharging of each and all officials and civil servants, which is obviously unreasonable, and many of its procedures may potentially generate systematic violation of human rights;

–           draft laws are being produced aimed at making the fight against separatism more effective, for instance, the law project “On preventive apprehension”, about deseparatisation, about special regime of prejudicial inquiry in the ATO area and others, but – all! – those do violate Constitution and international human rights standards;

–           the problems of poverty acquired new severity, and, unfortunately, the state was not ready to accept the new challenges. The government “froze” the minimum standards in 2014, which together with prices increase ensued further impoverishment of the population. Besides that, the difference between income of rich and poor people keeps extending;

–           despite of certain efforts of the state this year, there occurred substantial problems with social protection of persons moved within the country, as well as military servants and other persons involved in the ATO. In legislation sphere there has not occurred any essential changes affecting social securities, although reforming of the social sphere remains an extremely burning issue.

Among the positive moments, it is worth mentioning the approval of progressive amendments to Penal Execution Code contributing to openness of institutions executing punishments: now the right of unhindered visiting is granted to deputies of the Parliament, their assistants, and also doctors and journalists. These changes also improved the possibilities for telephone communication of the convicted persons with their relatives, and enabled prolonged meetings to persons imprisoned for life.

In general, the defenders assume that despite of numerous errors, the new administration within February, 22, – November, 30, managed to overcome the political and economic crisis, to re-create the effective armed forces and security bodies, to develop and prepare voluntary police detachments saving the country together with the National Guard and special units of Ministry of Internal Affairs, and to prevent the geographical expansion of the conflict with Russia beyond Donbas. An achievement is also the successfully conducted extraordinary President elections on May, 25, and extraordinary Parliament elections on October, 26. The cooperation of governmental and municipal bodies with the community became substantially more successful and effective. The volunteer activity is being remarkably evolving showing the examples of the best patterns of civil solidarity. At the same time the military conflict draining energy and costs, inertness of the political system, corruption in state and local bodies, and absence of reforms do not enable the development of the country which has not yet moved away from oligarchic regime of Yanukovych, thus preserving numerous threats for human rights and fundamental liberties.

The described trends will make a basis for the report “Human rights in Ukraine 2014” which is the universal document referred by national and international organizations for evaluating the overall human rights conditions in Ukraine. It has been issued annually since 2004. The report is composed jointly by more than 30 human rights organizations from all regions of Ukraine.


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