Amendments proposed to Law on the Legal Status of Foreign Nationals


Kommersant-Ukraine reports on a draft law just submitted to the Verkhovna Rada which would make changes to the Law on the Legal Status of Foreign Nationals and Stateless Persons. The document significantly widens the rights of foreign nationals, giving them virtually the same opportunities as Ukrainian citizens. However it retains all the previously passed provisions which tighten the rules for entering and being in the country. Human rights activists do not expect the draft law to have any impact on the situation with ensuring foreigners’ rights in Ukraine.

The draft Law, submitted on Friday, proposes a number of innovations which its authors say will improve the position of foreigners living in Ukraine.

This includes, for example, a norm on “the right to respect of honour and dignity” and statements like “foreign nationals and stateless persons cannot be subjected to torture, ill, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment.”  Other such laudable innovations include the right “to respect for personal and family life” and “to free choice of place of residence or temporary abode”.

One of the bill’s authors, the Minister of Justice, O. Lavrynovych asserts that the adoption of this law “will promote unwavering implementation of Ukraine’s international human rights commitments”.  He says that foreign nationals and stateless persons should enjoy the same rights as Ukrainian citizens with the exception of those defined by the Constitution, for example, regarding the right to take part in elections.

The draft law reflects, however, all amendments passed at the beginning of April and tightening rules for entry and temporary abode of foreign nationals.  According to these, people who have discredited the country shall not be allowed in, nor those who are unable to support themselves. These are grounds also for deporting a person. This could be if a foreigner comes to study or work, but does not appear at the place of study or work.

Dmytro Groisman, Head of the Vinnytsa Human Rights Group is sceptical about the Cabinet of Ministers’ initiative and notes that all the prohibiting measures passed at the beginning of April have been retained. He adds that it all depends on the actions of the authorities who do not always implement the norms of the existing law. The draft law, in his view, does not bring any fundamental change and will probably not change anything.

From a report at Kommersant-Ukraine

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