UHHRU asks Human Rights Ombudsperson to intercede for pensioners and others
The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union has addressed an appeal to Human Rights Ombudsperson, Nina Karpachova and to the heads of deputy factions in the Verkhovna Rada asking her to stand up for the rights of victims of the Chernobyl Disaster, children of the War and pensioners.
They ask her to do all necessary within the scope of her powers to have revoked Item 4 of the Final Provisions of the Law on the State Budget for 2011. This Item was inserted via a Law on Amendments to the said Law, No. 3491-VI from 14.06.2011.
UHHRU is turning to her in view of the unconstitutional nature of Item 4 of the Final Provisions of the Law on the State Budget for 2011 (http://zakon.rada.gov.ua/cgi-bin/laws/main.cgi?nreg=2857-17 , document 2857-17).. This does not meet quality criteria for legislation (it does not contain a clear, unequivocal definition of the size and procedure for receiving social guarantees, and does not allow Ukrainian citizens to properly foresee the consequences of their actions). It jeopardizes Ukraine’s commitments in the area of human rights and has an extremely adverse impact both on Ukrainian society and on the country’s standing in the international arena.
Item 4 clearly states that in 2011 the provisions on victims of the Chernobyl Disaster, children of the War, pensioners and military servicemen are applied according to the procedure and with the amounts fixed by the Cabinet of Ministers on the basis of the financial possibilities of the 2011 Budget.
“These amendments envisage cancellation of specific amounts defining social rights and guarantees which are fixed through special laws for these groups of people.
This is being done by transferring the authority to fix the size of socio-economic guarantees to the Cabinet of Ministers which will, at its own discretion, based on the country’s financial possibilities, determine who will receive how much.
Bearing in mind the lack of funding for these benefits even now when the law clearly stipulates their size and anyone can defend their rights through the court, it is entirely clear that this step has been chosen by the government as a means of not honouring the socio-economic rights and guarantees set down in law, while avoiding responsibility for this”.
UHHRU stresses that making this dependent on the decisions of the Cabinet of Ministers is in breach of the principles of the rule of law – the principles of proportionality, meeting legal expectations, legal certainty. There is insufficient openness and public accessibility with the adoption of subordinate acts.
The proposed procedure also runs counter to the Law on State Social Standards and State Social Guarantees which stipulates that the sizes of these benefits must be fixed through laws.
UHHRU points out that review of the conditions for social protection must be based on the constitutional provisions regarding the inviolability and inalienability of human rights and the prohibition on narrowing the scope and content of such rights when passing new laws or making amendments to existing laws.
It mentions also the legal force of the acts of executive bodies of power is lower than that envisaged by the Constitution, quoting Article 19.
“The transferring of the determination of conditions of social security to the level of bodies which are obliged to ensure implementation of legislative decisions will lead to the violation of a stabile and foreseeable system of civil rights and reduce the guarantees for their being honoured.”
This will lead, UHHRU warns, to the effective cancellation of socio-economic rights and guarantees because of the impossibility of effectively defending them through the court. By depriving people of the human right of court defence, the state is depriving people of the rights themselves, since these turn into fiction.
It should be noted too that civic organizations and experts on human rights defence point out that the amendments to the law do not comply with the criteria of quality for legislation formulated in judgements of the European Court of Human Rights and violate the norms of the Constitution.
“In our view any laws aimed at reform of social guarantees and benefits must comply with established principles of reform which are not seen in this law. There is only a reallocation of powers between bodies of power with regard to a number of social guarantees for particular groups of citizens.
Item 4 does not comply with the principles of reform of social guarantees and benefits since is virtually not linked with basic normative legal acts according to which the process of reform is taking place, does not comply with the main directions of such reform and provides excessive authority to the Cabinet of Ministers “
UHHRU therefore asks the Human Rights Ombudsperson to make a submission to the Constitutional Court regarding the unconstitutional nature of Item 4 of the Final Provisions of the Law on the State Budget for 2011.
The appeal is signed by Volodymyr Yavorsky, UHHR Executive Director