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26.02.2009

Tell us what you’re hiding!

   

The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group is calling on the authorities to reveal the content of all normative acts, not just those issued with the unlawful stamps “Not to be published” and “Not to be printed”., but also those secreted away as “for official use only”.

According to KHPG Co-Chair one of the ways of carrying out corrupt dealings is through concealing information by thus classifying documents. These refer o decisions taken by the authorities (Presidential decrees and instructions, resolutions, instructions or orders from the Cabinet of Ministers or other bodies, etc). At a press conference on Wednesday, Yevhen Zakharov explained that the civic campaign against the illegal practice had been reasonably successful, and, as reported here, that the Ministry of Justice had banned the use of the illegal stamps “Not to be published” and “Not to be printed”

In March 2008 the Cabinet of Ministers decided to removed the stamp “Not to be printed” from 1,410 acts issued between 1991 and 2005.  The Ministry of Justice declassified 1,015 of them and made the rest “For official use only”.

“And yet the President’s Secretariat has refused to reveal even the names of the normative acts with the stamp “Not to be published” passed up till 2005. 35 of 44 were declassified, but the others received the stamp “For official use only”. In order to fight corruption, the public need to force the Secretariat to uncover the documents which used this stamp”.

The Cabinet of Ministers has also refused to provide the names of acts with the stamp “For official use only” issued from 2005 which makes proper public scrutiny impossible. Yevhen Zakharov adds that the Verkhovna Rada are also failing to open up acts with these unlawful stamps.

He explains that the documents can be divided into those about corrupt dealings, various benefits and preferential treatment for high-ranking officials, behind-the-scene political agreements, future plans for the development of various areas of the economy and documents concerning state investments.

He adds that while the names of some of the normative acts suggest that a certain number of documents are on defence issues, there are good grounds for questioning the reasons for classifying and even the legality of the actions which they envisage.

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