Human rights workers outraged over MIA Public Council scam
Down with police lawlessness!
Human rights activists have stated that the new Public Council under the Dnipropetrovsk Regional Ministry of Internal Affairs Division has been formed with infringements. Not one representative of a human rights organization is on the Council which is supposed to monitor human rights adherence by the police and in places of confinement. All members are either members of the police force or people close to the authorities. The police reject the accusations.
Human Rights Public Councils under regional departments of the MIA appeared in 2005 in implementation of an order issued by the former Minister of Internal Affairs, Yury Lutsenko. They were consultative and advisory bodies whose main purpose was public control over observance of human rights by the police.
Such a council existed in the Dnipropetrovsk region until the beginning of this year. Human rights activist Halyna Kucherenko who was on the Council says that the body really was active and the seven human rights activists on it investigated human rights infringements, swiftly reacted to lawlessness in police bodies and places of confinement and went out on calls to people whose rights were being infringed.
Ms Kucherenko says that the phone numbers of the members of the Public Council were in each police station and detainees could ring them at any time of day or night.
The present Minister of Internal Affairs, Anatoly Mohylyov issued an order dissolving all public councils. When, more than half a year later, the councils were supposedly reinstated with another order from the same Minister, not one of the former members from human rights organizations was on them.
According to Vasyl Sukhov, Coordinator of the NGO “HRAD”, the new members include seven members of the regional MIA management, five people in one way or another connected with the law enforcement bodies and four representing pro-regime media outlets. He adds that most of the members are people distant from human rights work.
“They kept this information a secret for a whole month. It was only when we made a fuss that they explained that the council had already been formed”. He believes it is clear that the five members who are former MIA employees will be on the side of the police. . “The police are trying to make sure that nobody bothers them doing what they do. The number of human rights violations is increasing”.
The regional department of the police deny these claims. They also say that those civic activists who were not put on the Council can join by submitting an application. Dnipropetrovsk human rights activists promise the police that they will be more public in speaking of cases of human rights violations by the law enforcement bodies and will complain more to the Prosecutor General.