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08.02.2007

OPORA: Statement on the election of a “new” Ombudsperson

   

On 8 February the Ukrainian public witnessed the election by State Deputies of the Authorised Human Rights Representative of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (the Human Rights Ombudsperson). The candidates for this post were the well-known human rights defender Yevhen Zakharov, and the no less known politician Nina Karpachova (from the Party of the Regions).

The vote proved a test in its way of the readiness for democratic transformations in the country. Yevhen Zakharov had been supported by more than 340 nongovernmental organizations civic organizations who hoped that the post would be filled by a person who is not politically engaged or affiliated to any political faction, and removed from political interests.

It transpires that the majority of State Deputies are not capable of taking an independent step, governed by the interests of citizens, voters and Ukraine’s reputation.

Despite the opinion of the European community, the parties of the ruling coalition supported the candidacy of the very person who over many months discredited the institution of the Human Rights Ombudsperson and jeopardized its independence.

In this way, the Deputies totally ignored the opinion of their voters, whose rights will continue to be “defended” by a politician for whom position is important, and not her duty to citizens.

In response to the question from OPORA activists on the day of the vote “Which candidate do you support?” the State Deputies often answered “That’s my own business”. Unfortunately, yet again parliamentarians have been concerned by their “own business”, and not those of the people.

On the scale which Ukrainian politicians use high posts are cynically seen as outweighing moral principles and duty to the public. The positions which are of primary importance to the population easily turn into bargaining chips for our “people’s “representatives.

The civic network OPORA condemns the actions of those Deputies who, in voting for a defender of human rights in Ukraine, were governed by political motives and not by their duty to the public. We promise that public control over the actions of the newly elected Ombudsperson will be scrupulous and vigilant.

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