Civic organizations call on Prime Minister to keep her promises


A number of prominent Ukrainian civic organizations have addressed an open letter to Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. They point out non-fulfilment of paragraph one of the Government’s Programme regarding adoption of a new version of the Law “On citizens’ associations” and the blocking of this process by deputies from the BYUT faction [the Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko].

The story over this document is complicated and drawn-out. Back on 14 November 2009 the Cabinet of Ministers tabled in parliament a draft law “On civic organizations”. This simplifies procedure for the formation and registration of civic organizations, makes it possible for a civic organization to carry out its activities throughout the country [as opposed to the specific area where it is registered – translator], creates an open register of civic organizations, etc.

The draft law “On civic organizations” has been found by both Ukrainian and international experts to comply with the Recommendation CM/Rec (2007)14 of the Committee of Ministers to member states of the Council of Europe on the legal status of non-governmental organisations in Europe. It received positive assessments from the UN Representation in Ukraine and from the OSCE. The Central Scientific Expert Department of the Verkhovna Rada also gave a positive assessment and recommended that the draft law be passed as a base.

However the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Legal Policy which is chaired by BYUT representative Serhiy Mishchenko has refused to consider the draft law at all.

The Regulations of the Verkhovna Rada do not allow the Committee to leave a draft law without consideration, but oblige it to review it within 30 days and take a decision as to whether the Verkhovna Rada should consider it.

8 civic organizations: the Ukrainian Independent Centre for Political Research, the Institute for Mass Information, the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, the Civic Network “OPORA”, the All-Ukrainian Environmental Organization “Mama-86”, the Network for the Development of European Law, the Centre for Political and Legal Reform and “Telekritika” would remind the Prime Minister that the adoption of this document is not merely an item in the Government’s Programme, but also a commitment by Ukraine to the Council of Europe.

On 3 April 2008 the European Court of Human Rights found that Ukraine’s Law “On Citizens’ Associations” violated the Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and undemocratic (The Case of Koretsky and others v. Ukraine – cf. )

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