09.12.2001 | R. Romanov, Sevastopol

The referendum threatens superiority of the right


The International Helsinki Federation of human rights (IHFHR) supports the opinion of the Ukrainian partners ‘Helsinki-90’, as well as many other organizations representing the Ukrainian civil society, which express their anxiety that it is planned to change the Ukrainian Constitution by way of having the referendum to be held on 16 April. This attempt noticeably reduces the rights of the Parliament. Among other measures that can be taken in connection with the referendum is canceling the deputies’ immunity and the right of the President to disband the Parliament.

Besides, there exists a danger that the Upper Chamber planned to be created will be controlled by the President. Many key decisions, including amendments to the Constitution, may be approved by referendums in the situation when the executive power has an opportunity to control the people’s voting.

Changing important points of the Ukrainian Constitution by way of referendums contradicts to the principle of superiority of the right and the OSCE standards. Besides it violates the operating Constitution. Certainly, there are great doubts about the ‘people’s initiative’, which allegedly called for the referendum.

‘This referendum is a threat to human rights and the democratic distribution of rights among different branches of power, without which human rights protection is very problematic’, said Aaron Rodes, the executive director of the IHFHR.

Yuri Murashov, the chairman of ‘Helsinki-90’ declared that his organization analyzed the questions put out to the referendum and came to the conclusion that it uses manipulative simplified language, which resembles the Belarus referendum of 1996 that resulted in dictatorship.

A representative of the President’s administration informed the IHFHR and ‘Helsinki-90’ that the referendum is a result of the public movement aimed at the exit from the political dead-end, which does not enable the government to carry out reforms.

We are informed that nobody saw convincing proofs of the existence of the four million signatures collected in support of the referendum. Evidence is known that for collecting the signatures authorities used coercive measures which were applied to civil servants, including teachers and physicians.

Public organizations declare that the population do not know for what they will vote.

The Ukrainian ombudsperson Nina Karpacheva said that the statement that the referendum conforms with the Constitution is debatable and remarked that 45 MPs turned to the Constitutional Court urging it to consider this question.

Many Ukrainian organizations on human rights express their aversion to the referendum, suspecting that Ukraine may go the ‘Belarus way’, that it ‘may keep the MPs under the threat of persecution and disbanding, making them to be obedient and silent’. Thus, this process cannot be constitutional. Many organizations regard this process as the political juggling and as a deviation from the European integration.

In the situation when the Ukrainian state is unable to fulfil its duties, it is not clear how the referendum will be financed. If the referendum is held and the questions approved, this will result in noticeable additional expenses, which the Ukrainian state cannot afford.

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