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28.05.2012

US Report on Ukraine: Politically-motivated trials, limits on peaceful assembly and press freedom

   

In the US Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 2011 in Ukraine, a number of issues are given detailed analysis. The summary states that “Recent changes to the constitution strengthened the presidency at the expense of other branches of government. Viktor Yanukovych took office as president in February 2010 following two rounds of voting that met most international standards for democratic elections. Security forces generally reported to civilian authorities.

The most serious human rights development during the year was the politically motivated detention, trial, and conviction of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, along with selective prosecutions of other senior members of her government. The second most salient human rights problem was the government’s measures to limit freedom of peaceful assembly. Under political pressure courts denied permits for the vast majority of protests that were critical of the government. For those protests that were approved an overwhelming police presence discouraged participation; actions by protesters were limited and tracked by the authorities. The third major problem was increased government pressure on independent media outlets, which led to conflicts between the media owners and journalists and to self-censorship.

Other serious problems included police abuse and deaths in custody, beatings and torture of detainees and prisoners, and an inefficient, corrupt judicial system. In addition, the following problems were reported: harsh conditions in prisons and detention facilities, arbitrary and lengthy pretrial detention, government pressure on nongovernment organizations (NGOs), and pervasive corruption in all branches of government. Societal problems included violence against women, trafficking in persons, xenophobic attacks and hate crimes, and societal discrimination, harassment, and attacks on religious and ethnic minorities.

The government generally did not prosecute security officials who committed abuses, especially against ethnic minorities and prisoners.

Prosecutions for corruption, which were frequent, were often criticized as selective. Impunity was a problem throughout the government.”

The report in full can be found here:

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