Ukrainian human rights defenders point to a worsening in the human rights situation
The human rights situation in Ukraine is to be discussed on Monday 11 December by the Council of Human Rights Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg and the newly-appointed Head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Vitaly Tsushko.
At the same time, the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union is reporting a deterioration in the human rights situation in the country. The human rights group has found renewed pressure on small and middle-level businesses from the tax authorities which had not until recently been observed for a year and a half. It reports that regardless of whether tax infringements have been found, the tax officers are en masse imposing fines on businesspeople in accordance with a plan drawn up in Kyiv.
In eastern regions an increase has been observed in conflict on language and religious grounds, and a skinhead movement has emerged. UHHRU Executive Director Volodymyr Yavorsky comments that these factors are receiving political support in an entire region. “For example, in Kharkiv the areas of conflict are actively exploited by the Party of the Regions whose members take part in antagonistic demonstrations. Other pro-Russian forces, which in the country as a whole are hardly noticeable, are playing a large role at the local level.” He adds that weekly marches by skinheads, as well as their other activities, are closely coordinated with analogous groups in Russia.