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17.12.2006

Human Rights Ombudsperson has no right to represent a political force – Hammerberg

   

The main human rights problems in Ukraine are the spread of HIV and AIDS, the justice system and xenophobia.  This was the message from the Council of Europe’s Human Rights Commissioner Thomas Hammerberg in Kyiv. He said that HIV in Ukraine had reached dangerous proportions and that this would inevitably affect the social life of the country.

With regard to the justice system, he mentioned that the Ukrainian prosecutor’s office has much wider powers than in the majority of European countries.

Mr Hammerberg also stressed that the Human Rights Ombudsperson does not have the right to represent any political faction. He said that he had already met with the Ombudsperson Nina Karpachova and commentated on her work.  He stated: “Our experience shows that a Human Rights Ombudsperson works effectively only when s/he is independent, and that includes independence from political forces, because s/he has no right to represent a particular  part of society”.

In November the Verkhovna Rada dismissed Nina Karpachova from the position of Human Rights Ombudsperson due to her election to parliament as State Deputy from the Party of the Regions faction. At present she is formally continuing her human rights role until the new Ombudsperson is sworn in.

It should be noted that Karpachova could occupy this post again since this week (on 12 December) the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada put this Party of the Regions representative forward as new candidate for Human Rights Ombudsperson, 

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