Human rights groups appeal to parties regarding coalition agreement
We welcome the publication for public discussion by the bloc of Petro Poroshenko and the People’s Front of their draft coalition agreements. Judging by the draft documents, both political forces have chosen a course of the country towards “European integration envisaging profound transformations in all spheres of the life of the country and its society” so that the Ukrainian people became “one of the leading European nations”.
It is striking that in the proposed coalition agreement drafts no place has been found for human rights and fundamental freedoms – fundamental values for democratic countries, including Europe. Defence of the rights of each person in society is a real reflection of the development of a democratic state therefore movement towards the European Union should begin with their practical implementation, including at legislative level.
EuroMaidan as a phenomenon emerged because of the wish to declare and affirm human rights and human dignity and it is therefore not surprising that the most large-scale demonstrations presented pronounced human rights demands. For example, on Dec 1 2013 people came out onto the street, protesting against the beating of students at a people demonstration. On Jan 19 this year people came out against the adoption on Jan 16 of the ‘dictatorship laws” which restricted fundamental human rights – freedom of speech, freedom of peaceful assembly; the right to a fair trial, etc.
The political forces which, as the result of the energy of millions of participants of EuroMaidans throughout the country became the election winners, are obliged to present for public consideration their view of a system for ensuring human rights and fundamental freedoms. To this end they should formulate coalition agreements which present specifically those legislative changes needed for real defence of freedom from torture and arbitrary arrests; freedom of speech and information; freedom of peaceful assembly and association; freedom of religion; the right to a fair trial; the right to privacy; overcoming of discrimination, etc.
If human rights do not take a central place in the process of reform, such a process will not meet either the demands of protest which led to the overthrow of Ukraine’s authoritarian regime, nor the hopes of millions of people. The values of human rights should form the foundation of any systemic reform and every specific legislative initiative.
Human Rights Agenda Platform (an informal coalition of human rights organizations working on monitoring, analysis and preparation of human rights legislation, which includes: the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union; the Kharkiv Human Rights Group; the Centre for Civil Liberties; Amnesty International in Ukraine; the Human Rights Information Centre; Centre of Law Enforcement Research [CLEAR] ; Human Rights House in Kyiv; Social Action Centre of the Without Borders Project; EuroMaidan SOS