Public control over the work of the Human Rights Ombudsperson!
In 10 Ukrainian cities on 5 February, roundtables are being held under the title: “Public control over the work of Human Rights Ombudsperson – guarantee for effective human rights protection in Ukraine”.
Analogous roundtables were held on Sunday in Sevastopol and Odessa.
Civic organizations and activists who have come out in support of Yevhen Zakharovs candidacy for the position of Authorised Human Rights Representative of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (the Human Rights Ombudsperson) will be discussing a plan for future practical actions aimed at improving the work of the office of the Human Rights Ombudsperson and bringing this into line with Ukraines Constitution, laws and international commitments.
The participants in the roundtables will pass resolutions with appeals to Ukraines State Deputies at the beginning of the session of the Verkhovna Rada which is scheduled to consider the appointment of a new Human Rights Ombudsperson.
The roundtables are taking place in Zhytomyr, Kalush, Kharkiv, Kamyanets-Podilsky, Kherson, Vinnytsa, Poltava, Lviv, Mykolaiv and Donetsk.
The campaign “Zakharov as Human Rights Ombudsperson”
The campaign began in November 2006 after the Verkhovna Rada suspended ahead of term Nina Karpachovas position as Human Rights Ombudsperson, due to her combining this post with the mandate of State Deputy, which is prohibited by law.
It should be noted that Ms Karpachova had joined the candidates list for the Party of the Regions in autumn 2005, and was elected to the Verkhovna Rada in March 2006. She ignored repeated calls from civic organizations and many public figures to resign from the post of Ombudsperson.
The campaign is aimed at drawing the attention of State Deputies and the public to human rights protection issues and to ways of improving the work of the office of the Human Rights Ombudsperson.
For the first time in Ukraines history, several hundred leading civic and human rights organizations have put forward a candidate for this vital post and have succeeded in attaining the official candidacy of the Head of the Board of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union and human rights defender, well-known both in Ukraine and in the international community, Yevhen Zakharov,
In December and January press conferences, roundtables and various events were held throughout Ukraine, at which Yevhen Zakharovs program for the work of the office of the Human Rights Ombudsperson was presented for and discussed.
A vital achievement of our campaign has been in raising the profile and awareness of the problems and shortcomings in the work of the Human Rights Ombudsperson.
These problems – and especially the serious conflict of interests in the candidacy (again!) of Nina Karpachova – have been noted with concern by a number of representatives of international institutions such as the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. (cf. http://khpg.org/adm.php?do=edit&id=1170356220)
The campaign provides a valuable example of the ability of civic and human rights associations to unite their efforts in building civic society in Ukraine.