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21.04.2010

Why another MIA Public Council on Human Rights?

   

At a meeting between the President and Minister of the Ministry of Internal Affairs [MIA] Anatoly Mohylev, the latter announced that a MIA Public Council on Human Rights was to be created, headed by Edward Bagirov.

The President’s Press Service reports Mr Mohylev as saying as well that “such councils, headed by well-known human rights activists will be created in all regional centres and large cities in Ukraine and will have fairly broad functions on monitoring human rights.” The report reports the President as saying that in the near future he plans to meet with a broad range of human rights activists and discuss issues regarding the human rights situation in Ukraine”

Given that a Public Council attached to the MIA already exists, the website Zakhid.net asked its Co-Chair, Yevhen Zakharov from the Kharkiv Human Rights Group for his comments. The latter explained that the Council which he co-chairs was created at the order of the Minister of Internal Affairs in December 2005. There was also a Cabinet of Ministers Resolution on the Creation of Public Councils from 20 November 2009 [No. 1302] but he considers this to have been a damp squib since you cannot create anything with it. “What the President is talking about is not clear. It’s as if our Council with its four years of work didn’t exist, as well as the public councils under regional departments of the MIA. So have they cancelled the Minister’s orders on the creation of our council, and others? On 10 December we held a meeting of the Council to which we invited representatives of the Ministry of Justice and the Cabinet of Ministers since we wanted to understand how the existence of our Council correlated with Resolution No. 1302.  They said that our council was specialized, so that we would continue working, and that another council would somehow be created”.

Mr Zakharov said that it was not clear how the situation with public councils on human rights under the MIA would develop. “I cannot say that the steps of the new MIA management on human rights protection are aimed at improving the situation.”

He noted that this was most clearly seen by the closure of the Department for Monitoring Human Rights in the Work of the Police, as well as the dismissal of 27 Regional Human Rights Assistants to the Minister.

“I cannot say how the projects on human rights protection will now be implemented without this Department, and particularly the current project on mobile groups monitoring human rights. New mechanisms will need to be created.”

He said that the MIA are also preparing new provisions on the work of the Public Council on Human Rights. He finds this unacceptable since such provisions should be written by members of civic society working in the councils.  He points out also that in fact such provisions and regulations have long been in existence.

Mr Zakharov mentioned also that publications on the MIA site suggest that the Public Council will be chaired by the head of an MIA division. Asked why Edward Bagirov was called well-known by Mr Mohylev, Yevhen Zakharov replied: “We have never worked on anything together. Bagirov is a member of a large number of various public councils and calls himself a human rights activist. However I’ve never seen any results of his work in human rights protection. There have been a lot of complaints about his activities.”

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