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08.05.2009

Law on biometric data returned to parliament

   

President Yushchenko has refused to sign the amendments to the Law “On the legal status of foreign nationals and stateless persons”. The amendments would have introduced collection by all Ukrainian consulates, border guards, etc, of biometric data.

The statement on the official website explains that the President cannot sign the given Law since this would make unauthorized access, changes or divulgence of such data probable, this being an infringement of the people’s rights and adversely affecting Ukraine’s reputation abroad.

The likelihood of abuse is linked to the fact that there are no legislative safeguards for databases of personal data

The statement also calls on parliament to bring into line with legislative procedure for determining visa policy the proposed mechanism for waiving visas for foreign nationals and stateless persons exclusive on the basis of legislation and Ukraine’s international commitments.

The President’s proposals will be presented during Verkhovna Rada consideration of the law by Ihor Popov.

As reported here, the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union in mid April issued an Open Appeal against collection of biometric data, expressing grave concerns over inevitable infringements of people’s rights if the law came into force. It explained in detail its concerns focusing on likely abuse and lack of guarantees of data protection, unwarranted huge expense and absolutely no benefit in terms of increased national security, as the law claimed to be seeking. UHHRU called on the President to apply his power of veto, and today’s decision is very much to be welcomed.

The Appeal can be found at: http://www.helsinki.org.ua/en/index.php?id=1239888387 as well as on www.khpg.org, “Maidan” and other sites.

 

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