13.12.2002 | Nadiya Sherstiuk, radio ’Liberty’

2001 in the eyes of Ukrainian human rights protectors


Which was 2001 for Ukraine concerning observation of human rights?

Activists of human rights protection movement consider that 2001 has brought not a few advantages in the sphere of human rights protection. Roman Romanov, the head of the Sevastopol human rights protecting group, regards court reform as a substantial step forward in this sphere, although the changes lack the systematic character yet.

According to Romanov, the relations of Ukraine with the Council of Europe became less strenuous. Some of objective reasons for it are noticeable changes in the legislative reform in Ukraine. At the same time there exist also subjective factors: the work of the diplomatic representation of Ukraine in the Council of Europe was very successful. It managed to prove that Ukraine actually is moving in the direction of democratic changes and reforms.

Human rights protectors also mention public actions of political opposition among the positive events of the last year. Meanwhile, the situation with the freedom of speech still remains unfavorable. In Romanov’s opinion the facts were observed of intimidating and persecuting journalists for their professional activities.

Vasyl Lisoviy, a member of the human rights protecting organization ’Helsinki-90’, believes that 2001 was, on the one hand, optimistic as to progress in human rights protection, which is connected, in particular, with Gongadze’s case and investigating the cassette scandal. On the other hand, this year may be assessed as a defeat of all the human rights protection movement in this affair. Besides, as V. Lisoviy reckons, modern political conditions are unfavorable for the success of the movement.

V. Lisoviy told that modern system is suitable for the so-called tolerant repressions, it is adapted to be ’insensitive’ to separate individual or group actions. That is why the general assessment of the situation with human rights in Ukraine is pessimistic.

Taking account of the above-mention factors, the prospect of human rights protection in the coming year will mainly depend upon the political conditions, in particular, upon the parliament election. Besides, as human rights protectors believe, the problems connected with the freedom of speech and suppressing the independent mass media will remain actual also in this year

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