Human Rights in Ukraine. Website of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group

Public perception of the human rights situation in 2008


The Razumkov Centre has published the results of a public opinion survey regarding the human rights situation in 2008. According to respondents, the situation in general worsened, as did observance of specific rights.  The number of those who saw the situation having worsened during the year with respect to each right significantly outweighed the number who believed it had improved.

While a majority saw basic human rights as being most important, over a quarter placed socio-economic rights as most important.

All give high ratings to the importance of observing human rights, with the most important being seen as the right to life.

In terms of which rights are respected in Ukraine, the highest ratings were for basic rights, the lowest for environmental and socio-economic rights.

The following is a very brief summary of the study, mainly because it is hard to imagine people answering differently at the moment. .On the other hand, it is of importance that the average figures for each right are lower than a year ago.

As in previous years respondents named socio-economic rights as being worst observed, including the right to work and to fair remuneration, to healthcare and social security, social and medical assistance and rights linked with the justice system (the right to a fair, open and independent court examination, to the defence of violated rights, the presumption of innocence in criminal cases).

The average rating was less than 3 points on a 4-point scale.

A similarly low assessment was given to the right to freely elect and to be elected to representative bodies of power; to monitor the activities of the authorities as well as the right to protection of children and adolescents.

When averaged out the assessment comes to 2.96, against 3.17 last year.

Sources of significant violations of human rights in Ukraine: respondents most often named: the President; National Deputies.

More than a third named criminal structures, the Prime Minister, the Verkhovna Rada, the Cabinet of Ministers or the Police. They least often named the Armed Forces.

The number who named as culprits the central institutions of power had risen since a year ago, indicating clear disgruntlement with the President, Prime Minister, parliament etc.

Respondents hoped for assistance in defending their rights in the first instance from the court and lawyers, the President and the Police. Yet they rate the work of these structures not very highly and, as mentioned, lower than a year ago.

The least effective means of defence were seen as being appeals to the authorities or to the Human Rights Ombudsperson. The most effective was named as an application to the European Court of Human Rights. However all ratings were lower than last year.

An overwhelming majority consider that an ordinary person has difficulty when turning to the courts in obtaining help from lawyers, nongovernmental organizations or the Ombudsperson. .

Громадяни досить низько оцінюють ефективність різних способів захисту своїх прав. Найменш ефективними називали звернення до органів влади та Уповноваженого Верховної Ради з прав людини. Найбільш ефективним назвали звернення до Європейського суду з прав людини. Проте оцінки ефективності порівняно з минулорічними знизилися відносно всіх наведених інституцій.
They gave a positive assessment of the role of the media and educational institutions in raising awareness of our rights but were sceptical about likely help from NGOs or the Ombudsperson.

From information at the Razumkov Centre.

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