Verkhovna Rada takes first step with draft bill on civic organizations



On 17 May a small majority passed Draft Law № 7262-1 . “On civic organizations” as a basis.  This version is the one drawn up by the head of the Committee on Freedom of Speech and Information, Andriy Shevchenko together with Lesya Orobets, Yury Miroshnychenko and others.

The draft law is aimed at simplifying registration and the activities of civic organizations which form the basis of civic society. The law now in place “On citizens’ associations” provides obstacles to civic activity.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe reminded Ukraine of the need to pass such a law back in October 2010 in its Report on the Functioning of Democratic Institutions in Ukraine. Section 7.5 on Civil Society states that PACE “highlights the importance of civil society for Ukraine’s democratic development and therefore asks the authorities to speed up the adoption of a new law on civic organisations with a view to addressing the deficiencies noted in the current legal framework for non-governmental organisations”.

There have been worrying suggestions of late that the Party of the Regions was seeking to travel the road taken by Russia in placing impediments in the way of civic organizations.  There was talk of banning civic organizations from using foreign funding.  In the present conditions in Ukraine this would spell the end of vital work helping people from vulnerable groups in society, much of the work carried out by human rights and other organizations.

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