Human Rights Ombudsperson reacts swiftly and constructively to criticism
In the early days of February, a monitoring report was issued on “Maidan” and here concerning the work of the Human Rights Ombudsperson in January 2008. Among other things, the report mentioned the lack of openness of the Ombudspersons office, and specifically the lack of any information on their official website about the number of appeals received.
Four days later, the Ombudspersons Press Service informed that in 2007 the Human Rights Ombudsperson had considered over 77 thousand complaints from Ukrainian and foreign nationals and stateless persons.
“In the main it is people from the poorest spheres of society who send appeals – pensioners, disabled people, families with many children, war veterans, people involved in containing the effects of the Chernobyl Disaster. People complain that their rights and freedoms are being infringed due to the actions or omissions of the authorities and bodies of local self-government, law enforcement officers and judges”. The report states that:
- In 2007 over 4 thousand disabled people approached the Ombudsperson complaining of discriminatory treatment;
- During the last year there was a one and a half times increase in the number of appeals relating to pensions, for example, in the Vinnytsa, Poltava, Zhytomyr, Kharkiv, Luhansk regions and in Kyiv;
- One in four appeals alleges violations of the right to just defence via the courts.
Although the information is incomplete, we hope that this is just the beginning and that with time we will receive answers to other questions put in the January report. We hope to finally learn about the structure and staffing of the Secretariat; the number of proceedings initiated and their results; about the number of submissions made by the Ombudsperson to the Constitutional Court, or the authorities, bodies of local self-government or civic organizations over recent years; about decisions, conclusions, proposals and recommendations made by the Ombudsperson.
We also look forward to finally seeing the annual reports of the Human Rights Ombudsperson for 2006 and 2007.