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07.12.2006

Human rights in the Chernihiv region

   

On 5 December the “Dobrochyn” [“Charity”] Centre presented the results of their monitoring “Human Rights in the Law Enforcement System of the Chernihiv region” with an analytical report.

The study was carried out from August until November this year, with people from the Centre surveying people detained or released from temporary holding centres IITT). The respondents were asked questions as to whether they had experienced violations of their rights, unlawful methods of influence, whether they had been able to defend their rights and whether there had been procedural infringements.

Employees of law enforcement agencies were also surveyed, being asked to respond to questions regarding how social and personal rights are safeguarded. The monitoring was carried out in Chernihiv, Nizhyn and Novhorod-Siversky.  The human rights situation was also accessed through formal requests for information to the Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for the Chernihiv region and its structural subdivisions.

During the presentation at the Chernihiv Reform Press Club, the head of the analysis group Oleksandr Pidhorny stated that the human rights of those being held in custody are constantly violated. He described in some detail the kinds of violations, beginning with police protocols of detention not being prepared on time. Such protocols had been prepared within two hours (as required by law) in only a third of the cases. 35% of those surveyed said that their relatives had not been informed within the legally established time period. Around of a quarter of those detailed had not been informed of their rights.  Most frequently they had not been informed of the right to refuse to give testimony or explanations without a lawyer being present.

Nataliya Drozd, Head of the Project, talked about the results of the survey of police officers. The majority of those questioned said that the observance of law enforcement officers’ rights did not meet either Ukrainian or international norms. 67.3% of the police officers complained of violations of their social rights, including the failure to provide housing, and the irregular working hours. They also alleged violations of their rights by colleagues and management. 42% of the police respondents spoke of pressure through financial provisions, and demands that they look for sponsor funding, as well as the lack of payment for overtime. 10% mentioned corruption in the police force.

The officers complained most of low material provisions. Many were disgruntled over the need to pay for things needed for work from their own pocket.  Nearly 80% said they used their own money for uniforms and stationery items. Half said they had to pay for petrol themselves.

In concluding, the representatives of “Dobrochyn” pointed out that the rights of those held in temporary holding centres would continue to be violated while the rights of police officers are also not observed. “Those whose work lies in establishing violations of the law need to be confident that the law does not permit their rights to be infringed”.

The survey was carried out within the framework of the project “Human Rights in the Law Enforcement System of the Chernihiv region” with financial support from Freedom House ( (USAID).

Olena Koroyid, “Dobrochyn” Centre



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