Human Rights in Ukraine. Website of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group
12.12.2001 | Eugene Zakharov, Kharkov

Brief commentary


The political crisis is aggravated. Violent actions of law-enforcers, uncouth attempts to conceal information about the investigation of Gongadze’s disappearance, the brutal pressure to drive people to the meetings in President’s support – all this encourages the opposition to more resolute actions. Attempts to hold the action ’Ukraine without Kuchma’ is blocked by local authorities, try, by hook or crook, to forbid the pickets in the form of tent camps, this commonly known action against the authorities. It looks like the President promised to sack the governors, if they admit tent camps on their territories. So they invent absurd arguments about rats, WCs, renting land and not mentioning tent camps in the Constitution or operating laws. Although the main principle declared in the Constitution is: what is not explicitly prohibited, is permitted. To guarantee the right for peaceful gatherings, the authorities are obliged to provide to picketers convenient places, WCs and the like.

What should be done by human rights protection organizations in this situation? As to me, now we must execute not only ’the routine human rights protection work’, which, undoubtedly must be continued. We must also try to organize negotiations between the authorities and the opposition, to criticize the erroneous decisions of local authorities and courts and, to decrease the strain of the encounter, to transfer it to the legal plane. In my opinion, now it is necessary to make the Supreme Court survey the decisions of local courts about the prohibition of tent camps. At the same time it is reasonable to hand in the proper case to the European court of human rights about the violation of Articles 6, 10 and 11 of the Convention of the protection of human rights and basic freedoms. This may be done by individual picketers to the organizations, which held the pickets. That will be a practical realization of the slogan: ’Let us counteract immoral authorities by the honest position’ formulated above in the appeal to the Ukrainian intelligentsia.

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