Political parties have already forgotten about defending human rights


Once they got into parliament, political parties promptly forgot their pre-election promises in human rights-related areas. This was one of the main conclusions presented by the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union [UHHRU] at today’s press conference on the results of their monitoring

UHHRU Executive Director Volodymyr Yavorsky reported that their monitoring had not found the huge differences between the political forces on human rights issues that had been observed a year ago.

The highest rating in this area according to the assessment scale used was obtained by “Nasha Ukraina” (44 points).  BYuT [Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko] received 23 points, the Party of the Regions – 18, the Socialists – 14 and the Communists – 13. 

“All parties have forgotten their promises. Our survey shows that they have not even begun implementing their pre-election programs, except to some extent on the issue of language policy and ensuring the rights of children of war”.  Volodymyr Yavorsky added that the political parties acted in chaotic fashion and not in the interests of ordinary people, with this impeding the stable development of society.

He mentioned also that another trend had emerged, with President Yushchenko increasingly submitting documents on defending human rights for parliamentary consideration.

Yevhen Zakharov, Chair of the UHHRU Board, stressed that some of parliament’s activities actually presented a number of risks with laws being passed or draft laws tabled which do not improve the human rights situation in the country. He mentioned in particular the Law on the Cabinet of Ministers which, he says violates the Constitution and deepens the confrontation between the President and the Government. UHHRU considers the Law on the Imperative Mandate (which gives political blocs and factions the right to remove electoral mandate from deputies at local level who change political sides) to also do this.

In addition, the members of the Union pointed out the other most worrying legislative initiatives. These include a draft law “On amendments to some Laws on regulating the system of bodies involved in fighting organized crime”, provisions of which would establish control by State Deputies on the criminal investigation process; “On a national demographic register” which establishes a system of total surveillance over the individual, thus violating international standards and the right to privacy; the Resolution of the Verkhovna Rada from 23 February 2007 which approved provisions about passports and allowed the use of biometric chips in these which would create the conditions for total surveillance.

UHHRU also criticized the low level of legislative acts prepared by Deputies when compared with documents submitted for the consideration of the Verkhovna Rada by the Cabinet of Ministers and the President.

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