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10.01.2007

PACE expresses concern over the election of Human Rights Ombudsperson in Ukraine

   

A new cause of confrontation in the Ukrainian political realm has become the impending election of the Authorized Human Rights Representative of the Verkhovna Rada (the Human Rights Ombudsperson).

The Anti-Crisis Coalition is insisting on the candidacy of the former Ombudsperson, presently State Deputy from the faction of the Party of the Regions, Nina Karpachova. The opposition (and a very large part of civic society – translator) has called this a violation of the Law on the Human Rights Ombudsperson and of European standards.

Yesterday the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe called on the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to elect an Ombudsperson who is politically independent and does not belong to any political party.

In their letter to Oleksandr Moroz, Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada, the PACE rapporteurs express regret that Nina Karpachova, who has been put forward again for the position of Human Rights Ombudsperson, while serving as Ombudsperson and in breach of her oath, failed to act with independence by taking active part in political activities, and later broke the law by combining two mandates – those of Deputy and of Ombudsperson.

The PACE  rapporteurs remind Mr Moroz that the Human Rights Ombudsperson in European countries is viewed as an arbiter with high moral standing, a political independent person who can maintain this independence both in relations with the authorities, and with different political forces, and who is prohibited from taking part in any political activities.

At the same time, a representative of the Party of the Regions Dmytro Svyatash in an interview with the BBC stated that the Anti-Crisis Coalition would support the candidacy of member of the faction of the Party of the Regions, Nina Karpachova. With regard to the prohibition on engaging in political work, the “regional” claimed that when the country has a proportional representation system and candidates are put forward by political parties, there cannot be a candidate who is not involved in a party.

The other candidate for the post of Ombudsperson, Head of the Board of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union Yevhen Zakharov said that Nina Karpachova would only defend the interests of those from her party and that he did not believe that during the vote in the Verkhovna Rada for Human Rights Ombudsperson the majority of Deputies would be governed by the interests of the country and vote for the independent candidate.

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