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27.07.2004

Appeal of the participants of the Forum of public human rights protecting organizations “Human rights at elections” on the right for peaceful assemblies in Ukraine

   

The Constitution of Ukraine guarantees to citizens the right for peaceful assemblies, meetings, street marches and demonstrations. This right is natural and inalienable. According to Article 39 of the Constitution, only court may restrict this right and only in exceptional cases.

However, contrary to the norms of international right and the Constitution of Ukraine, the Ukrainian power neglects the right of citizens for peaceful assemblies. Regular violations of citizens’ rights cause the mass meetings and demonstrations with political, economic and social demands to the power. The organs of state executive power and organs of local self-government, in their turn, violate Article 39 of the Ukrainian Constitution, which guarantees the freedom of peaceful assemblies, prohibiting these actions or assigning special zones (far from the central streets of towns) for the conduction of mass actions. Such decisions were approved, in particular, by Kyiv city council, Poltava and other town councils. At that the authorities referred to the resolution of the Supreme Rada of the USSR adopted as early as on 28 July 1988. Sometimes the power applies force: destruction of the tent camp on Khreshchatik on 1 March 2001, administrative and court persecution of the participants of protest actions (first of all, the most socially vulnerable participants, such as students).

Today the problem with the realization of citizens’ right for peaceful assemblies becomes especially acute. Along with the problems, which are already usual in Ukraine, another problem has appeared: the election campaign-2004 has begun, and various political forces carry out their mass actions in all regions of Ukraine. One should expect for the burst of political and public activity during the entire 2004, and the realization of citizens’ right for peaceful assemblies would, first of all, promote the conduction of honest and open election campaign.

The draft of the Law of Ukraine «On assemblies, meetings, street marches and demonstrations» presented by the President of Ukraine on 23 March 2004 arouses the especial anxiety. This draft envisages, along with the restrictions concerning place, time and term of the conduction of mass actions, the existence of the «empowered organs of internal affairs, executive power and local self-government», which would have the right «to take the decisions about termination or suspension of mass actions (Article 14 of the draft» and «to drive citizens out from the places of mass actions» (Article 15) without any court decisions.

In this connection the participants of the Forum of public human rights protecting organizations turn to the MP of Ukraine with the appeal not to approve the President’s law draft «On meetings, assemblies, street marches and demonstrations», since it violates the fundamental human rights and freedoms and contradicts Article 39 of the Constitution of Ukraine.

The participants of the Forum of public human rights protecting organizations declare that our organizations will supervise the realization of the right for peaceful assemblies, meetings, street marches and demonstrations and will do their best to resist the violations of this right.

The Resolution and appeals are signed by 56 public organizations

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