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3. Operation of the Supreme Rada of Ukraine Ombudsman

   


[1]

On April 29, 2012 Valeriya Lutkovska became the Ombudsman of the Supreme Rada of Ukraine.[2] This section reflects the results of monitoring of her operation for six months (May to October).

Introduction of the sectoral representatives’ institute and change of the Secretariat structure

Public hearing held in May contributed to identifying four major areas of the Ombudsman’s operation:

-       Implementation of national preventive mechanism in compliance with “Ombudsman+” model; 

-       Observance of social, economical and humanitarian rights;

-       Observance of children’s rights, non-discrimination and gender equality;

-       Access to information and protection of personal data.

In August another aspect of Ombudsman’s operation – observance of adherence to citizens’ voting rights – was added on Advisory council’s recommendation.

In May-August 2012 the Ombudsman appointed following sectoral representatives:

-       Natalia Ivanova (Observance of social, economical and humanitarian rights); 

-       Yuriy Byelousov (Realization of national preventive mechanism in compliance with “Ombudsman+” model); 

-       Axana Filipishyna (Observance of children’s rights, non-discrimination and gender equality);

-       Olexandr Pavlichenko ( Access to information and protection of personal data).

-       Mykhaylo Chaplyha (observance of citizens’ voting rights).

Prior to their appointments the sectoral representatives of the Ombudsman headed respective Departments and Offices in the new Secretariat. The process of Ombudsman’s Secretariat restructuring continues. As of October 1, 2012 it has been 63.8% staffed.  Public servants are appointed to the Ombudsman’s Secretariat on the competitive basis. Terms and conditions of the competition are available on the Ombudsman’s site.[3]

National preventive mechanism based onOmbudsman+” model

In 2006 Ukraine ratified Facultative Protocol to the Convention against Torture, having committed itself to setting up the national preventive mechanism (NPM) within one-year period. This commitment has not been fulfilled over the next five years.  

According to the priorities formulated by Valeriya Lutkovska, setting up of NPM in Ukraine immediately became one of the key areas in the new Supreme Rada Ombudsman’s activity. Department for NPM realization was formed within the Ombudsman’s Secretariat structure. 

Over the summer the Department was staffed by experts by way of open competition. The specialists have experience of work within the institutions which are to be monitored or in the correctional facilities. The Department still needs to be staffed to full strength (as of October, 20, 21 positions were filled, while total number of positions amounts to 34).

The passing of  Law “On Amending the Law of Ukraine “On Supreme Rada of Ukraine Ombudsman” with regards to national preventive mechanism” by the Supreme Rada became a real breakthrough.  

The passing of this law is a good example of joint effort undertaken by all the stakeholders. After broad public discussion on the possible NPM format, the model “Ombudsman+” was opted for as the most acceptable for Ukraine. For practical implementation of this model a new draft law was devised with the help of European Council experts and human rights activists. The draft was aimed at conferring legislative powers to Ombudsman ‘s Office with respect to the NPM implementation   by way of introducing respective changes to the Law of Ukraine “On Supreme Rada of Ukraine Ombudsman”.

The Law authorized the setting up of a special unit within the structure of the Ombudsman’s Secretariat to address the issues of inadmissibility of torture and other cruel, inhuman and humiliating practices and punishments. It created the opportunity to involve (on contractual or pro bono basis) public activists, experts, scholars and specialists, including those from other countries, in regular monitoring of the penitentiary institutions.

From the very beginning the Department has been closely and fruitfully collaborating with non-governmental organizations. Together with human rights activists it elaborated the algorithm for NPM functioning on the basis of the “Ombudsman+” model. Under this algorithm regional Ombudsman’s representatives, regional PR coordinators, NPM expert council, all-Ukrainian non-governmental “Association of independent monitors” (on the basis of the contract signed with the Ombudsman for one year) and other HR organizations get actively involved in the NPM realization.  

The chart of the national preventive mechanism in compliance with “Ombudsman+” model in Ukraine   

The NPM Department shall schedule visits to the penitentiary institutions. The Ombudsman will ensure organizational support for these visits. Regional representatives will perform administrative functions locally (after this institute is established). Association of independent monitors will select, train and coach monitors in the course of one year (the contract is signed for this term). NPM Expert council will do the analysis and provide recommendations for the contracts to be signed with monitors. Final decisions will be made by the Ombudsman’s Office. The contract signed between a monitor and the Ombudsman’s office will grant legitimate powers to the monitors, full list of which will be submitted to the authorized body.   

The strategic goal of newly formed mechanism is strengthening protection against torture and cruel and inhuman treatment for the inmates of the penitentiary institutions through regular monitoring visits.

Currently the NPM strategic planning till the end of 2013in Ukraine has been completed with the participation of leading NPM experts-members of HR orgnizations and financial support of “Renaissance” International fund.

The Department is developing methodology for torture and cruel treatment prevention, establishing working relations with specialized agencies and non-governmental organizations. The coordination of algorithms for visits to penitentiary institutions with State Penitentiary Service of Ukraine, Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Defense is practically completed.   The Department intends to compile visiting algorithms for all 36 types of penitentiary institutions till the end of this year.

The Department staff together with Kharkiv Institute for Social Studies prepared and conducted a series of trainings. Thus, first training dedicated to the specific characteristics of NPM functioning in compliance with the requirements of Facultative Protocol to UN Convention against torture has been carried out by the expert from Prevention Subcommittee of the UN Committee against torture for the Department staff in charge of NPM implementation.   

In September-October Kharkiv Institute for Social Studies together with the Department in charge of NPM implementation carried out three trainings on  selection and coaching  of the future visitors to penitentiary institutions. 50 trainees from all Ukrainian regions participated in the event. 

The Department works with ministries and agencies to be visited within NPM framework. A number of working meetings with the officials from ministries and agencies in charge of penitentiary institutions took place.

In 6 month the Department staff and public representatives participated in monitoring visits to penitentiary institutions in the AR of Crimea, Dnipropetrovsk, Kyiv, Lviv, Odessa, Ternopyl, Kharkiv, Khmelnitsky and Chernyhyv oblast’s.  As of November 1, 2012 136 institutions under the Ministry of Interior (62), Security Service (1), State Penitentiary and Border Control Services (23), Ministry of Defense (2), Ministry of Health (16), Ministry of Social Policy (25) and Ministry of Education, Science, Young People and Sports (4) have been visited.  24 visits were organized together with local activists in Volyn’, Cherkasy and Kherson oblast’s within the framework of  a project, supported by “Renaissance” International Foundation.  Every visit was followed by a report containing recommendations on eliminations of breaches of human rights discovered in the course of the visit. The reports were sent to the relevant ministries and agencies. While this report was prepared the processing of ministries’ and agencies’ responses to the Department recommendations still continued. The Department closely follows up the fulfillment of recommendations and uses additional measures if need arises. 

For example, on July 19, 2012 a visit to Obolon’ district department of Ministry of Interior in Kyiv took place. The conditions, in which the detainees are kept, interrogation rooms, system of admittance, registration logs, staff familiarity with respective legal and normative acts regulating observance of rights and freedoms, were monitored.     A whole range of faults was uncovered and respective recommendations were offered to the Department management. Ministry of Interior responded that Ombudsman’s recommendations were taken into consideration only partially. The Department in charge of NPM implementation filed a new appeal with the Ministry of Interior and warned about administrative liability in case of non-compliance with       Ombudsman’s recommendations.

Several surprise visits to the closed facilities were also organized with the goal of verifying the information concerning torture and cruel treatment. Specifically, the information on mass beating of the convicts in Kopychyntsy correctional facility №112[4], the beating of the attorney O.Veremeenko by the officers of Dniprovsky district militia department in Kyiv, beating of a UNHCR mandate refugee in Lukyanivka pre-trial detention center[5] was verified. After every visit a letter was sent to the prosecutor’s office requesting thorough investigation.

However, no results of either 136 scheduled visits between June and October, or several surprise visits have been made public by the Department.  At best, one could find on the Department’s site the information to the effect that some systemic violations were uncovered in the course of the visit and respective letter was sent to the agency in charge.  Lack of information concerning visits’ results causes skepticism of public at large, towards the Department’s operation with respect to NPM implementation, and to the Ombudsman’s Office as a whole.  This attitude is obvious in social networks, especially, on Facebook. Under p. 2 Article 21 of the Facultative Protocol to UN Convention against Torture only confidential information collected within NPM framework cannot be publicized. First interim Department’s reports were published as late as November.[6]

Analysis of the Department operation with regards to NPM implementation, activities of other structural units in the Ombudsman Secretariat leads us to the conclusion that a uniform algorithm of response to the instances of human rights violations is established. The Secretariat checks up received information, then submits it to the bodies in charge with Ombudsman’s recommendations and request to report on the measures taken. In case of non-compliance or partial compliance with the recommendations Ombudsman continues the dialogue with the head of the respective agency. Only in cases of deliberate and persistent non-compliance Ombudsman makes the information public or uses the administrative levers of influence.

The algorithm, described above, has a number of positive aspects. First, the appeal to respective bodies is accompanied by Ombudsman’s recommendations.  Second - Ombudsman supervises the fulfillment of recommendations and uses additional levers to ensure that fulfillment. 

Unfortunately, no statistical data are available to confirm this statement, due to shortness of monitoring period and lack of well-organized system for data collection in the Secretariat.  

Monitoring revealed that lack of funds is one of the major hindrances to the NPM implementation. On the one hand, the former Ombudsman left her office having practically exhausted the next year’s budget. On the other hand, the NPM funding is not envisaged by the budget due to the absence of such area in the Ombudsman operation in the past.  Successful fundraising became most instrumental in resolving this issue. Thus, office equipment needed for the full-fledged operation was granted as charitable donation by UNDP Office in Ukraine. The Department staff participates in the specialized trainings due to the grants, obtained by the respective NGOs.

The NPM funding situation can change as soon as 2013. The Law “On Amending the Law of Ukraine “On Supreme Rada of Ukraine Ombudsman” with regards to national preventive mechanism” stipulates state budget expenses for NPM. However, procedural barriers, related to state bodies operation, are still in place. Ombudsman cannot finance public monitoring visits. That is why the issue of adequate material support for regular monitoring activity within the NPM framework so far remains unresolved.     

Another cause of concern is lack of public awareness or interest towards NPM in Ukraine despite its efficiency in preventing torture and cruel treatment in penitentiary institutions. Obviously, more comprehensive information policy in covering the issues of NPM and penitentiary system is needed.    

Cooperation with non-governmental organizations

Ombudsman pays due attention to developing new strategy for public relations. In order to ensure close cooperation with non-governmental organizations on the basis of openness and transparency, the Advisory Council under the Ombudsman was set up. It brings together human rights activists, trade union activists, journalists and scholars (total number -28 members). The Council is chaired by Valeriya Lutkovska and Yevhen Zakharov.  

Advisory Council goals include providing consultative support to the Ombudsman, conducting academic research, considering proposals with respect to better protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms by broader use of civil society institutes.

Six expert groups were set up under the Advisory Council:

- on immediate legal response to the violations of human rights;

- on monitoring of Ombudsman operation;

- on counteracting racism and xenophobia;

- on adherence to environmental rights of the citizens;

- on health care reform;

- on observance of migrants’ rights;

- on human rights of persons with mental conditions.

It is too early yet to make any comment on these groups’ operation.

In September 2012 the Advisory Council supported the Ombudsman’s proposal on devising Strategic Plan for the development of Ukraine in human rights protection area. To make the implementation of this plan feasible, the Advisory Council experts, at the Ombudsman’s request, prepared a summarized report on the UN and European Council recommendations for Ukraine and analyzed existing plans as to their compliance with Ukrainian commitments made to UN and European Council.   The Strategic Plan was devised on the basis of this document.

Alongside with Advisory Council other consultative and advisory bodies are set up under the Ombudsman:

-       Public committee for protection of active voting rights of the citizens;[7]

-       Expert council on freedom of information and privacy protection, operating under the auspices of  Department for information access and personal data protection;[8]

-       Expert NPM council under The Department in charge of NPM implementation;  

-       Expert council for non-discrimination and gender equality[9] and Expert council for children’s rights[10], under the Ombudsman representative for non-discrimination, gender equality and children’s rights.

As of today, members of over 50 non-governmental organizations participate in the consultative and advisory bodies under Ombudsman.

The mechanism of interaction between Ombudsman Office and public representatives envisages, alongside with participation in the consultative and advisory bodies, participation in working groups, joint events (round tables, working meetings, conferences, seminars), cooperation on contractual basis etc.   

On September 19, 2012 a memorandum on cooperation was signed between Ombudsman and all-Ukrainian Association of Ukrainian monitors of human rights on law-enforcement.[11] It stipulates organization and implementation of joint events and projects aimed at improving the situation with regards to observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as public education on human rights issues. In October 2012 Ombudsman appointed regional coordinators on public relations members of the aforementioned Association - in three oblast’s (Cherkasy, Volyn’ and Kherson). Within the scope of their competences, defined by the contract, they represent Ombudsman in dealings with power bodies, international institutions and NGOs. According to the By-Laws, regional coordinators act as volunteers. At the first stage financial support for developing regional coordinators’ network is provided by the “Renaissance” International Foundation. By the end of the year regional coordinators for Kharkiv oblast’ and Sebastopol are to be appointed.

Meanwhile, the information about regional coordinators still cannot be found on Ombudsman’s Web-site.  

In September the first meeting of the working group for the protection of constitutional right of public transport workers to strike took place. The group includes the Ombudsman representative for social, economic and humanitarian rights Natalia Ivanova, representatives of relevant ministries and agencies and trade union activists.[12] The goal of this group is considering and preparing proposals for bringing Article 18 of the Law of Ukraine “On Transport” into compliance with the provisions of the Law of Ukraine “On Collective Contracts and Labor Treaties” and “on the Procedure for Resolving Labor Disputes (conflicts)”, the norms of which have precedence over other legal acts in this area of public relations, and standards of international law and MOP recommendations.

In 6 months Ombudsman Office held over 30 events with non-governmental organizations (round tables, working meetings, conferences, seminars). They addresses the issues of NPM setting up, access to information, children’s rights protection, non-discrimination, areas and perspectives of cooperation with trade Unions Federation; consultations with NGOs on developing draft laws related to observance and protection of human rights were held.  

First steps were made towards interaction between Ombudsman and NGOs in the area of amending Ukrainian Law and devising draft laws concerning human rights and freedoms. Cancellation of Supreme Rada of Ukraine decision on accepting the first reading of the draft law “On Amendments to Criminal and Criminal-Procedural Code of Ukraine (on enhancing the liability for encroachment on individual honor and dignity (registration № 11013 of 19.07.2012, submitted by Member of Parliament V.Zhuravsky) [13] was among the first positive results of this cooperation. The Ombudsman conclusion pointed out that this draft law provisions are contrary to the Constitution of Ukraine, European Convention on Human Rights and international commitments of Ukraine.[14]

Passing of the Law of Ukraine “On Supreme Rada of Ukraine Ombudsman” with regards to national preventive mechanism” on October 2, 2012 was another positive result of the collaboration between Ombudsman and non-governmental organizations.[15] Under this law Ombudsman is vested with authority to submit proposals for the amendments in Ukrainian legislation regarding protection of the citizens and individual rights and freedoms; familiarize herself with documents, including those of restricted access and request their copies from the power bodies, local self-governments, public associations, companies, institutions, entities regardless of form of ownership, prosecutor’s office, including the court files.   The NPM functions are vested in Ombudsman.

Another example of positive collaboration was manifested by well-coordinated actions of Ombudsman and NGOs with regards to the Law “On Unified State Demographic Registry and Documents confirming Ukrainian citizenship, identifying an individual or his/her social status”, passed on October 2, 2012 and amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On Personal Data” (№10472-1), adopted on the same day. Both Expert council on freedom of information and privacy protection and Ombudsman requested that Presidential veto on these laws.[16] [17] [18] [19] They also coordinated their efforts in resisting the adoption of certain changes to legal acts by Supreme Rada (on children’s rights to safe information space), registration № 8711 of 20.06.2011, which banned homosexuality propaganda. Both Expert council on freedom of information and privacy protection and Ombudsman addressed the parliament with the request to cancel the decision on passing the said draft law in the first version (№8711), and also to reject similar draft laws– № 10729 (on introducing changes into the Code of Administrative Infringements of Ukraine with respect to establishing liability for homosexuality propaganda), №10290 (on banning homosexuality propaganda aimed at children) and any other draft laws encroaching upon  freedom of expression and disseminate discrimination in.[20] [21]

On the other hand, examples of different approaches to the laws and drafts passed by Supreme Rada, demonstrated by Ombudsman and non-governmental organizations also abound. Namely, in October 2012 the NGOs actively opposed passing of the Law “On amendments to some legal acts of Ukraine with regards to the use of auxiliary reproductive technologies”, which restricts the age of women seeking artificial fertilization to 51 years. They argue that this provision is discriminatory to women as it artificially limits women’s reproductive age.[22] The Ombudsman Office chose a different stand on the matter, claiming that surrogate motherhood is a source of human traffic in Ukraine due to lack of legal support. The law under discussion, in their opinion, could help.  On November 2, 2012 the President returned the draft law “On Amendments to some legal acts of Ukraine with regards to the use of auxiliary reproductive technologies” with his remarks to Supreme Rada for further consideration.  

Supreme Rada’s negligence of both the Ombudsman and the Expert council opinions is most alarming. On September, 9, Parliament passed the law “On Measures for Counteracting and Preventing  Discrimination” without taking into account recommendations offered by the working group set up on June 26,  2012 under Supreme Rada Committee on human rights, national minorities and inter-national relations on Ombudsman motion. The group included Ombudsman, Ombudsman representative A.Filipishyna and members of NGOs and international organizations.  

Under Article 3 of the Law on Ombudsman, this latter should assist in bringing Ukrainian legislation on human rights and freedoms into compliance with the Constitution of Ukraine and international standards in this area. The everyday reality, however, shows that Supreme Rada is not ready to take the recommendations into consideration, although the members or parliament stated that they expected support from Ombudsman in their law-making activities.   

De-politicization of Ombudsman operation

Ombudsman managed to complete almost all the tasks set for the year 2012. The operation of the institution changed dramatically. However, the Ombudsman perception by the public underwent almost no changes. The majority of public believes that Ombudsman is too politically engaged.   

On May 17, 2012 at the meeting with journalists Valeriya Lutkovska publicly confirmed her plan to put an end to politicizing Ombudsman’s office:"I have firm intention of putting an end to politicization of Ombudsman’s Office”, she stated. – 46 million Ukrainians need protection of their rights, therefore the Ombudsmans attention cannot be focused mainly on politicians. This in itself is discrimination of the majority, violation of people’s right to approach their Ombudsman seeking help and receiving it…” [23]

In order to depoliticize her office Ombudsman chose tactics which find neither understanding, nor support among public at large. To avoid accusations of political involvement Ombudsman prefers to remain silent on crucial public issues. Thus, we do not know Ombudsman’s opinion regarding plainly unconstitutional law “On Principles of National Language Policy”, passed by Supreme Rada on July 3, 2012. Probably, this omission is due over-politicized atmosphere around the law.  Ombudsman refuses to comment criminal accusations brought up against politicians, specifically, against Yu.Tymoshenko and Yu.Lutsenko. The public is also unaware of the Ombudsman’s stand with respect to human rights violation in the course of the recent election campaign.  

Nevertheless, despite great caution exercised by Ombudsman  in addressing crucial issues, her very reticence is perceived by the public as a sign of political engagement, thus putting Ombudsman independence in doubt.

Ombudsman’s silence with respect to socially important issues does not testify to her political indifference, but it does not contribute to depoliticization of Ombudsman operation.

That’s why choosing appropriate depoliticization strategy is so important for Ombudsman operation. Efficient information policy should play key role in the process.

Ombudsman information policy

The new Ombudsman started her operation with significant changes in information policy, vividly manifested by public discussion on Ombudsman priority areas of operation and introduction of sectoral representatives’ institute, initiated on May 15, 2012[24].

The Ombudsman official site immediately published complete information the structure and operation of the Ombudsman’s Secretariat, as well as the information on its structural units, their heads, working hours, contact phone numbers etc. The information on public service’s office operation, free phone numbers, postal, e-mail and Skype addresses, as well as detailed instructions on how to file an appeal with the Ombudsman and with the European Court on Human Rights are also available to public.  Press-center publishes news on important events related to human rights issues in the “Human rights protection” column.

In the course of three months (July-September) the site was visited by over 43 thousand of Internet users, with 75% accessing it from Ukrainian servers.

The Ombudsman usually offers information on her operation to familiarize public with

-       Decisions made by the authorities who, in Ombudsman’s opinion, restrict human rights and freedoms. For example, an open letter to President Yanukovich with the proposal to veto the law of Ukraine “On Amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On Personal Data Protection”, passed on October 2,  2012[25];

-       Operation and decisions of Advisory and advisory bodies under the Ombudsman. For example, publication of the recommendations on classifying public information as confidential, devised by the Expert council on freedom of information and privacy protection under the Ombudsman  representative for access to public information and personal data protection in compliance with law of Ukraine “On Access to Public Information” [26];

-       Various events with the participation of the Ombudsman office. E.g. round table entitled  “The Law of Ukraine “On Measures for Counteracting and Preventing  Discrimination”:problems and ways of improvement”[27];

-       Fulfillment of direct duties of Ombudsman or her representatives in defined areas. E.g. initiating the investigation on journalists’ complaint following Brovary assault[28];

-       Official contacts with authorities and official representatives. E.g. Ombudsman’s recommendation to the Head of the Central Election Board V.Shapoval to provide additional public information with the respect to video-recording at the polling stations, clarifying that the control over voting process in the closed booths is technically not feasible.[29]

Soon after being sworn into the office Ombudsman started her page on Facebook.[30]  It is on this social network that vivid discussion around new Secretariat structure was initiated, involving Facebook users and taking their proposals into account.  

Currently the page offers the news from the Ombudsman official site, which is rarely commented upon by the users, the number of which amounts to 383. Hence, the need for page further updating and visualization arises.   

The Ombudsman introduced a number of new initiatives to further promote cooperation with media. E.g. she changed meetings with journalists into press-lunches[31]; she personally communicates with members of internet-communities[32]; an on-line conference was held[33]. These innovations, however, were not developed further. As of November 1, 2012,  Ombudsman’s participation in “Komsomolska Pravda” “hot line” (10.05.2012), web-conference on LIGA site (17.05.2012) and Valeriya Lutkovska meeting with the participants of “Ukrainska Pravda” forum (18.05.2012) remained isolated events.  

Ombudsman’s communication with media was most active in May 2012. More than 10 information meetings took place, including an interview on TV channel TRK, participation in Mykola Knyazhytsky TV program, participation in “In the first person” talk show at radio “ERA” channel and others. Over the next four months dynamics of media interaction showed tendency to slowing down. Contacts became scarce and forms of communication limited. At that time Ombudsman participated in “Portrait” project with Serhiy Dorofeyev on channel 5,[34] and gave two interviews to “Glavkom” and “Tyzhden.ua”.[35] At the beginning of August 2012 a large conference dedicated to Ombudsman’s first 100 days in office was held. The analysis of questions posed to Ombudsman’s press-service revealed that journalists were most interested in the following topics: criminal charges against Yu.Tymoshenko and Yu.Lutsenko,  as well as draft law №11013 “On Amendments to Criminal and Criminal and Procedural Code of Ukraine with respect to enhancing liability for encroachment on individual honor, dignity and business reputation” (libel law).   

In the course of 6 months Ombudsman’s site published 167 accounts of her operation. Only one third of them, however, were disseminated by other mass media. Most often the information was made public due to electronic media. TV broadcasted the smallest share of Ombudsman news.  It is well known that the number of Internet users is twice lesser than the number of TV audience.    Prevalence of electronic media as opposed to other means of communications narrows the audience to Internet users only, negatively affects PR of Ombudsman’s operation. According to the poll conducted in September-October 2012 by the Center of Information on Human Rights, 19% of respondents know absolutely nothing about the Ukrainian Ombudsman.[36]

In order to enhance social legitimacy of Ombudsman’s Institute press-service should pay more attention to the strategies of implementing Ombudsman’s information policy. 

Press-service should also address the need to cover Ombudsman’s position on the issues of vivid public interest. It should be proactive in actualization of topics of substantial social significance, which are not adequately covered in mass media. E.g. the NPM setting up is in outside the focus of public and media attention.   

On the average, press-service limits its information on Ombudsman’s operation to one information block daily. The information flow is not well-balanced. Although press-service always makes Ombudsman’s plans and intentions known to public, it fails to report on their final outcomes.  E.g., monitoring revealed, that as of August 2, 2012 rights of 70 citizens were restored due to Ombudsman’s intervention.[37] Ombudsman’s site reported only one such incidence.[38]

Over 30 violations in information balance have been registered, i.e. when an event was announced, but the outcomes never made public. E.g., On July16, 2012 Ombudsman’s site announced the beginning of monitoring, conducted by Secretariat on the motion from Ombudsman’s representative for children’s rights, non-discrimination and gender equality Axana Filipishyna. The monitoring focused on timely supply of medical drugs to children’s oncological hospitals in the country.  It was triggered by the information in mass media with regards to critical situation with medications supplies, which threatened children’s lives. Media   referred to the national program “Children’s oncology and onco-hematology”.[39] Monitoring results, however, were never made public. On August 6, 2012 Ombudsman’s press-service released information to the effect that the Secretariat is verifying the information on alleged beating of Umar Khasanovich Abuyev during his stay in pre-trial detention center in Kyiv.[40] However, it was from another source that public learnt of the outcome, i.e. that criminal proceedings were instituted against detention center’s officers. Ombudsman’s site failed to make this information public. In August   2012 Ombudsman’s Secretariat announced its own monitoring of parliamentary elections. However, by November 5, 2012 neither information on monitoring results nor Ombudsman’s (even preliminary) statement with regards to elections was published.. Instead, we learnt about Ombudsman’s Office active participation in the observation process from the member of “Alliance Maidan” NGO, which was the Office’s partner in elections monitoring.  They stated that due to the timely response for Ombudsman’s representative several violations of voting rights at the polling stations on the Election Day were stopped. They also claimed that Ombudsman’s recommendation and subsequent Resolution №1850 of  24.10.2012 passed by Central Election Board, contributed to better attendance of voters and their participation in the ballot.  This Resolution introduced relevant changes into the video-recording protocol at the polling stations, namely, the decision was made to announce that video-recording is being done and to amend this information with written message in large type: “There is no video-recording in the closed ballot booths”.[41] On October 28, Ombudsman’s site published the information received at Ombudsman’s Office with regards to numerous violations of public voting rights at 2012 elections.[42] It was the last elections’ related message.

Recommendations

1.   Introducing further amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On Ombudsman”

2.   Developing strategy and technology for communications with media.

3.   Timely publication of news on Ombudsman site.

4.   Systematic coverage of the results of Secretariat structural units’ operation, Ombudsman’s and her representatives’ operation.

5.   Active use of various instruments enhancing public awareness with respect to Ombudsman institute.  

6.   Organizing free counseling in Ombudsman Office, together with NGOs.  

7.   Continuing collaboration with NGOs.

8.   Broadening the network of local regional Ombudsman representatives.

9.   Making information concerning regional coordinators open to the public on the Ombudsman site.

10.The Department in charge of NPM implementation will:

·      Compile the reports on the results of each penitentiary institutions’ monitoring visit; analyze and summarize systemic errors in the penitentiary institutions and reflect the analysis results in the annual report, alongside with recommendations for the competent bodies;

·      In cooperation with public activists develop and implement viable mechanism for recruiting, training and certifying monitors of the penitentiary institutions;

·      In cooperation with public develop and implement efficient information policy, aimed at step-by-step raising public awareness with respect to incarceration-related problems in Ukraine.  

11.   Organizing systematic data collection on public appeals and complaints and responses to them.  

12.     Devising strategy and technology for de-politicization of the Ombudsman operation.

[1] Preprared by L.Koval, KhHRG

[2] http://uamedia.visti.net/

[3] http://www.ombudsman.gov.ua

[4] Surprise visit to Kopychyntsy CF  № 112 Ternoopyl obl. Investigation started. http://www.ombudsman.gov.ua/

[5] Information about refugee Abuyev’s beating in Kyiv PTDC is verified. http://www.ombudsman.gov.ua

[6] http://www.ombudsman.gov.ua

[7] http://www.ombudsman.gov.ua

[8] http://www.ombudsman.gov.ua

[9] http://www.ombudsman.gov.ua

[10] http://www.ombudsman.gov.ua

[11] http://www.ombudsman.gov.ua

[12] http://www.ombudsman.gov.ua

[13] http://www.ombudsman.gov.ua

[14] http://www.ombudsman.gov.ua

[15] http://zakon1.rada.gov.ua/laws/show/5409-17

[16] http://www.ombudsman.gov.ua/

[17] http://www.ombudsman.gov.ua

[18] http://www.ombudsman.gov.ua/

[19] http://www.ombudsman.gov.ua

[20] http://www.ombudsman.gov.ua/

[21] http://www.ombudsman.gov.ua

[22] http://ofenzyva.wordpress.com

[23] http://www.ombudsman.gov.ua

[24] http://www.ombudsman.gov.ua

[25] http://www.ombudsman.gov.ua/

[26] http://www.ombudsman.gov.ua/

[27] http://www.ombudsman.gov.ua

[28] http://www.ombudsman.gov.ua/

[29] http://www.ombudsman.gov.ua/

[30] http://www.facebook.com/ombudsmanUA

[31] http://www.ombudsman.gov.ua/

[32] http://www.ombudsman.gov.ua/

[33] http://www.ombudsman.gov.ua

[34] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcrAU1N24Rg

[35] http://tyzhden.ua/Politics/62379

[36] http://humanrights.com.ua/

[37] http://www.ombudsman.gov.ua

[38] http://www.ombudsman.gov.ua/

[39] http://www.ombudsman.gov.ua/

[40] http://www.ombudsman.gov.ua/

[41] http://www.ombudsman.gov.ua/

[42] http://www.ombudsman.gov.ua/

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