Call on politicians to defend freedom of peaceful assembly in Ukraine
Members of NGOs and other concerned members of the public have endorsed an open appeal to Ukraine’s politicians regarding legislation in parliament on peaceful assembly.
They write that, united by common interests with respect to freedom of peaceful assembly, they have reached consensus over the following.
Shared concern over the increasing number of court bans on peaceful gatherings in Ukraine and number of cases where people face administrative liability for infringements of the procedure for organizing and holding meetings, rallies, street processions and demonstrations;
Application by the courts as grounds for restrictions on peaceful assembly of Soviet legislation and acts issued by bodies of local self-government which do not comply with Ukraine’s Constitution; as well as arbitrary interpretation of constitutional norms running counter to European standards demonstrates interference by the State in freedom of peaceful assembly;
The Law on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly should be adopted in a form complying with European standards and the interests of civil society.
We would ask all political groups represented in the Verkhovna Rada, regardless of the polarization of views typical for an election campaign, to confirm the priority importance of human rights and fundamental freedoms and support our shared position.
We call on members of different factions to jointly submit for parliament’s consideration a draft bill agreed with civic organizations which would, for example, prevent the arbitrary application of administrative penalties.
We suggest that until such a draft bill has been adopted in its first reading, that draft Law No. 2450 (On Freedom of Peaceful Assembly – translator) should not be put to the vote.
We call on the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Human Rights, National Minorities and Inter-Ethnic Relations to recall draft Law No. 2450 for reworking, in particular regarding the following:
1) Establishing a minimum period for notifying of a planned meeting in calendar days or hours, rather than working days (Article 7);
2) Revise the list of grounds for restricting peaceful assembly (Article 16) and the list of rights and obligations of the organizers (Article 5);
3) Review the list of places where peaceful gatherings are not permitted (Article 9).
After taking proposals from NGOs into consideration and agreeing the versions of both draft laws, these should be adopted simultaneously with their entry into force also synchronized.
The results of monitoring of observance of freedom of peaceful assembly which NGOs will continue to carry out systematically should be taken into consideration and should help to remove obstructions.
Roman Kuybida Centre for Political and Legal Reform
Volodymyr Chemerys The Republica Institute
Arkady Bushchenko The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
Mykhailo Svystovych The Civic Movement Vidsich
Maxim Latsyba, Ukrainian Independent Political Research Centre
Roman Romanov The International Renaissance Foundation
Oleksandr Severyn Vsesvit ; Maidan-Monitoring
Viktor Taran The Centre for Political Study and Analysis
Mykhailo Kamenev The Regional Initiatives Foundation
The appeal is open for endorsement at: http://www.helsinki.org.ua/index.php?id=1347611150