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16.10.2006

The Government is full of praise while nongovernmental organizations criticize

   

The annual OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting aimed at reviewing how countries are implementing their human-rights-related commitments took place in Warsaw this year, ending on 13 October. Together with a government delegation, the conference is traditionally attended by representatives of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union (UHHRU), the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group and other Ukrainian nongovernmental organizations. Information was presented to the Conference about the human rights situation in Ukraine.

These conferences are generally attended by the ambassadors of all OSCE member states, as well as representatives of many international and nongovernmental organizations. UHHRU was represented by Volodymyr Yavorsky and Maxim Shcherbatyuk, and KHPG by lawyer Oksana Moroz.

The Conference which is held on an annual basis lasted two weeks during which the participants each day scrutinized the level of observance by member states of particular rights and freedoms.

On Friday 6 October, the UHHRU, the International Renaissance Foundation, the National Commission for the Strengthening of Democracy and the Rule of Law, and the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice held a side event on “Human rights and Judicial reform in Ukraine”. It was chaired by the Director of “Rule of Law” Programs of the International Renaissance Foundation R. Romanov and UHHRU Executive Director V. Yavorsky.

The roundtable was presented with the Strategy Plan for Judicial Reform approved by the National Commission and the President of Ukraine, as well as with draft laws for its implementation.

Attention was also drawn to a range of draft laws which are presently being completed in the Ministry of Justice. For example, draft laws on peaceful assembly, on freedom of conscience and religious organizations, on citizens’ organizations, and on personal data protection were discussed.

Participants in the roundtable were given English translations of the Strategy Plan and of the draft laws and were able to directly see what the reforms were.

During the Conference other documents were also circulated to all participants.

The UHHRU provided material in English on:

Freedom of peaceful assembly .

Freedom of association .

Problems of racial, religious discrimination and anti-Semitism in Ukraine .

-  On freedom of speech in Russian using the example of Zelenyak (the material was provided in Russian but is available in English at: http://khpg.org/en/index.php?id=1159913863)

The right of response in the context of the statement from the Ukrainian Government to the lawfulness of the deportation of 11 Uzbek refugees in February 2006 .

The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group circulated information on protection against torture and ill-treatment in Ukraine (document in PDF format in English).

The International Renaissance Foundation provided a document entitled “Judicial reform in Ukraine: on the road to the fair trial” which was also presented at the plenary meeting as a paper given by R. Romanov (pdf-file (30.652 kb) )

The only interesting document provided by the government was on the prevention of torture in Ukrainian criminal law (not available in English).

Another document from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Representatives was not met with understanding by the international community. On statements from a US delegation, Amnesty International and nongovernmental organizations in Uzbekistan on the unlawfulness of extraditing 11 asylum seekers from Ukraine to Uzbekistan given the real threat that they would be subjected to torture or other forms of ill treatment, Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs circulated a statement in which it tried to justify the actions of the Ukrainian authorities(pdf-file (23.831 kb) ).

UHHRU in turn circulated a statement in response to the Ukrainian Government’s position in which it once again pointed to the numerous infringements of Ukrainian legislation and international norms through the extradition of the Uzbek asylum seekers. We would note that the authorities have not only failed to bring anyone to answer for this flagrant violation of human rights, but in the worst Soviet tradition are continuing to claim that the actions were legitimate, despite the considerable evidence to the contrary.

Human Rights Centre "Memorial" presented a Written contribution on "Refugees from Uzbekistan in the CIS".

More documents available at: http://www.osce.org/conferences/hdim_2006.html

The participation of UHHRU and KHPG in the Conference was possible thanks to the financial support of the International Renaissance Foundation and the OSCE Project Coordinator in Ukraine.

Volodymyr Yavorsky

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