Concluding seminar on monitoring of election of the President of Ukraine-2004 in penitentiary establishments.
On 25 January 2005 the concluding seminar on monitoring of the election of the President of Ukraine-2004 in penitentiary establishments was held in Kyiv. It was conducted by the Ukrainian section of the International society of human rights. Heads of regional groups from all regions of Ukraine, representatives of the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Defense, Department of Penitentiaries, OSCE, Foundation “Vidrodjennia” and representatives of Embassies of Germany and the Great Britain took part in this seminar.
It was summed up at the seminar how the agitation had been carried in penitentiaries, and how the voting had been organized there. Almost all participants of the monitoring pointed out that the voting in penitentiaries had been organized efficiently, on the high level. For instance, Genadiy Glushchenko, the head of penitentiary establishment in the settlement of Gamaliyivka, treated our organization and the monitoring very seriously and respectfully. He helped to organize the meetings of our workers with the head and members of the commission, permitted us to be present during equipping of the room for voting, which was very important for accuracy of the voting, and to observe the entire process of voting. Everything was organized and functioned as well-debugged mechanism. We are very grateful to major Glushchenko and all workers of this establishment for such efficient work.
It was pointed out at the seminar that in the establishments, where people were held in custody, there had been no agitation, and the information was one-sided (like in most Ukrainian regions), the voters had been familiarized only with one candidate and had voted for him. This is also confirmed with questioning of the voters, which were released after the Presidential election. However, in December the voters in penitentiaries started to obtain the many-sided information, and on 26 December the results in almost all penitentiaries changed: the candidate, which had had almost 100% of votes, lost his positions and got much less votes than before.
Besides, the participants of the seminar discussed the changes that should be introduced into the election laws for improvement of voting process at special election stations, where voters were retained in custody. In particular, it was suggested to permit the members of special election commissions and representatives of candidates to vote at these stations with the off-list tickets, to permit them to visit such establishments and meet with the incarcerated voters, and so on.
The participants also discussed very urgent question whether it was advisable to give the right to vote to incarcerated people. There were many different opinions, and everyone actively defended his own stand. I believe that the people, who are held in custody, are competent members of our society, since, according to Ukrainian laws, this category of people is not deprived of electoral rights. So, the people, who stay in custody, independently of term, regime and gravity of the offences committed by them, may be restricted in the electoral rights only at election to the local power organs, since an incarcerated person can have no relation to the local power in this very area. The majority of participants of the seminar adhered more or less similar ideas, and it was decided to send such proposition to the organs of legislative initiative.
Taking into consideration the experience, acquired during the conduction of the monitoring, and taking account of the necessity and usefulness of such monitoring, we decided to organize the monitoring of parliamentary election-2006. In the course of future monitoring we intend to cover all special election stations, where people are retained in custody.
Head of the regional group