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11.12.2006 | Halya Coynash

A message on Human Rights Day to all State Deputies of the Verkhovna Rada

   

As we hope you are aware, this day marks the anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a day which marked a step forward for a world devastated by the results of human barbarism. 

It is most disturbing that on this day rumours should be circulating in Ukraine to the effect that the highest legislative body in the country is planning to make the appointment of a new Human Rights Ombudsperson part of a “package deal”, involving the position of Vice Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. 

It has been suggested by generally reliable sources that the outgoing Human Rights Ombudsperson only agreed to relinquish this position “in exchange” for “better pickings”, the post of Vice Speaker.  The apparent suggestion is that if Nina Karpachova does not get this new position, she will return to her previous job.  The fact that this is in direct contravention of the Constitution of Ukraine appears to be of little concern to those in the Verkhovna Rada. 

The possibility is, however, of immense concern to civic society, as is the apparent intention of other factions in parliament to concur with this outrageous political trading in order to “win” the other Vice Speaker post for an opposition candidate.

Such secretive wheeling and dealing renders meaningless the vital role of the Authorised Human Rights Representative of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. 

We call on the Verkhovna Rada to openly put forward worthy candidates for the position of Human Rights Ombudsperson, and to select their Human Rights Representative in isolation from any other political decisions.

We would ask all those concerned about human rights to express in no uncertain terms to ALL State Deputies of the Verkhovna Rada that such political manoeuvring is entirely unacceptable.  Please explain to them that not only do they strain still further the confidence of the Ukrainian people in their elected representatives, but they seriously damage Ukraine’s standing in the international community.

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