‘We look at the implementation of the Action Plan of the National Human Rights Strategy with cautious optimism’

On September 22, Glavkom news agency held a press conference to talk about the results of monitoring of the execution of the National Human Rights Strategy and the Action Plan for its implementation for the first half of 2016.

During the presentation of the Report for the second quarter 2016 Arkadiy Buschenko, the Executive Director of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, noted that civil monitoring platform will prepare the final annual report. The document will be brought to the attention of the executive authorities, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, the President, and the public.

‘We are becoming tougher, but we are not the main threat. The government should report to the President by December 10, 2016’, said the human rights activist.

I recall that the Decree of the President of Ukraine №501/2015 ‘On Approval of the National Human Rights Strategy 2020’ of August 25, 2015, impose obligations on the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine to:

  • Prepare and publish an annual report of the Action Plan implementation by November 1 for the current year;
  • Organize an annual public discussion of the Report on the Action Plan implementation for the current year.

The monitoring found several problems.

‘Now the shortcomings of the preparation of the Action Plan begin to appear. The concept was created by democratic procedure – the majority of votes. In fact, this work is for experts, who had to harmonize different concepts and determine what monetary and intellectual resources are necessary to implement the Action Plan. The Government’s attempts to avoid implementation of certain measures of the Action Plan is a platform for dialogue, including changes to the Action Plan: to determine why certain activities cannot be performed and improve the document,’ says Arkadiy Bushchenko.

As it turned out, local authorities are not the only bodies that do not fulfill their obligations in good faith.

‘The civil society does not show any activity. This document is not only for the Government. The document is also for the civil society. The monitoring platform was created not for the application purpose in order to monitor how the government behaves, but to systematize the civil society’s work in order to determine how we can share certain areas within the platform, allocate resources, define how to work properly, not chaotically, but in a coordinated and purposeful way,’ says Arkadiy Bushchenko.

According to the Executive Director of UHHRU, yet there are several reasons that prevent us from boasting bright results. This is how the government underestimates the importance of the document, and how the public underestimates it as a tool to effectively influence public policy.

‘First, we will try to create an expert board and, secondly, we will think about mechanisms of involving civil society, namely advocacy, lobbying, monitoring, information collection,’ says Arkadiy Bushchenko.


Photo – Hromadske Radio

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