The Minister listened to the complaints


On Friday, 2 October public hearings on observance of human rights in the work of the Ministry of Internal Affairs [MIA] were held in Kyiv. They were attended by the Minister of Internal Affairs Yury Lutsenko who said in his opening address that rights violations by MIA officers remain a serious problem for the Ministry. He said in that 2008 there had been over 40 thousand complaints to the police of which over 3.7 thousand were found to be valid. He considered this figure to be «unacceptably high», and added that in 2009 the MIA has initiated 400 criminal investigations against its staff. The Minister then invited those representatives of civic organizations present to speak. Volodymyr Chemerys, Authorized Representative of the MIA Public Committee on Human Rights reported numerous detentions of participants in legal protests under the guise of «persistent resistance to police officers», and mentioned that there are civic organizations in the country dispersing rallies and meetings. «For example, members of the organizations «Shchyt» [«Shield»] which is made up of former MIA officers demonstratively arrived by coaches in the centre of Kyiv and broke up a tent city». Mr Chemerys called on the leadership of the MIA to resign «over systemic violations of human rights including freedom of assembly.» Maxim Butkevych, Coordinator of the project «Without borders» within the civic organizations «Social Action Centre» is angered over the lack of action by police officers against crimes motivated by racism and xenophobia. He mentioned the disruption of the presentation of an anthology of gay and lesbian literature «120 pages of Sodom» in Lviv, and said that impunity leads to new crimes, for example, the arson attack on the Hudimov Centre which had recently hosted a discussion on homophobia

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