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Kharkiv Human Rights Group Social Networking



KHPG Statement on the Events Linked with the ‘Myrotvorets’ Site

17.05.16

The publication on the Myrotvorets site of information about people who had received ‘accreditation from the so-called ‘Donetsk people’s republic’ [DNR] aroused heated debate in Ukraine regarding the legitimacy of the move and the invasion into the privacy of the people whose information was posted.

The Myrotvorets site is an essentially volunteer initiative which appeared and developed after the beginning of Russia’s military aggression first in Crimea, then in the east of Ukraine. It should be noted immediately that volunteers from the very beginning of the conflict did not pay attention to the requirements of current legislation.  They bypassed customs regulations to bring in vehicles, medicines, items for protection – helmets, bulletproof vests and equipment for military action such as optical sights and night vision aids.  The aim was to stop the aggressor and to provide maximum protection and support for those who were opposing the criminals whom the Russian Federation had armed and sent to Ukraine.

The Myrotvorets site began posting information about people it suspected of collaborating with the enemy or who had taken part in the armed conflict.  It received its information from open sources, from the media, social networks. Information was accumulated on the site about those whom they suspected of committing the crimes envisaged by Articles 110 and 111 of Ukraine’s Criminal Code – encroaching on Ukraine’s territorial integrity and state treason, respectively. It should be stressed that such information had already been published and was re-posted on the Myrotvorets site, with references to the sources of the information.

Can one publish the personal data of those who take up arms and fight against Ukraine and its territorial integrity, who are spies, saboteurs, and who, obviously, do not give their consent for the publication of such information on the site where such information is gathered together?  This can undoubtedly cause them harm and even place their personal safety in jeopardy. Yet the gathering and publication of such information, including with the help of volunteers, the existence of such a source of open information is a deterrent against the committing of crimes and is necessary in a democratic society. KHPG supported these activities and stated publicly that such actions were not a violation of human rights.

Last week it was learned that on the Myrotvorets site a list of 4, 068 journalists who had received ‘accreditation’ in the self-proclaimed DNR was published.  This list had never before been published and was received as a result of a leak of information, possibly through hacking or other means.

The publication of such information aroused condemnation because of the personal data in the lists, although the accuracy of the published information was not in question. The negative assessment of such publication was based on the fact that it jeopardized the safety of the journalists and other individuals on the list.

The information about 4, 086 people was not taken from open sources and was received from an unknown source without reference. This does not give the opportunity to check or confirm their authenticity. This also indicates the confidential nature of such information which there had been no consent to divulge.  Furthermore, the criteria and motives for posting this list of people with ‘accreditation’ are not identified. According to our information, there are people on this list who, for example, provided interpreting services for foreign missions that were carrying out monitoring on the territory of the so-called DNR, people who were involved in trips to that territory for humanitarian aims. The publication of personal information about such ‘accreditation’ is interference in the privacy of the people on the list and they have every right to seek redress through the court.

In our view, the publication of such information on the Myrotvorets site is not justified from the point of view of attracting public interest to this fact. Such actions infringe the right to privacy of the people on the list since the information was not received from open sources which envisaged consent to its publication, but from an unknown source. This is therefore grounds for demanding the removal of the information and reinstatement of the people’s right to privacy. 

 

Separate opinion

I cannot share the above-mentioned endorsement of Myrotvorets’ earlier activities for the reasons mentioned here and over general concern about the reliability of their information

Halya Coynash 

see also:
Outrage as Anti-Militant Website Publishes List of Journalists Working in Donbas
Kremlin-backed ‘republic’ bans Ukrainian media
Special Zombie Status? Kremlin-backed ’republics’ block all independent media
Call for Action to Free Luhansk Journalist held Hostage for 5 Months
Desperate plea from Luhansk hostage facing 15-year ‘sentence’
Luhansk militants hold journalist hostage, threaten 15-year ‘sentence’
Luhansk journalist freed after 5 months in captivity
Journalist in captivity for 100 days
Concern for civic activist and journalist seized by Luhansk militants
Journalist missing in Luhansk