Monthly bulletin Prava Ludyny (Human rights)
The appeal of the Kharkov Group for human rights protection
The tragic events in Moscow showed for the umpteenth time that Russian authorities absolutely do not care for human life. The storm, in the result of which, according to the official data, 117 hostages perished and several dozens of people still stay in the intense care wards in the very grave condition, this storm is called by these authorities a brilliant anti-terrorist operation and the only possibility to save the hostages. How may such an operation be called brilliant, if so many people were killed, if doctors were not informed in time how to neutralize the effect of the gas, with which the hostages were poisoned, and were not provided with the necessary medical drugs? The killing of the unconscious terrorists poisoned with the gas may be regarded only as barbarity. In a civilized country they would be disarmed and tried for their crimes, but not killed on the spot.
Neither the Russian President nor his plenipotentiary representatives even tried to begin any negotiations with the terrorists, as it is done in other countries. In 1996 in Peru, for example, the revolutionists from the MRTA captured about 500 hostages in the Japanese embassy. The government carried on the negotiations with the terrorists for more than four months, and only when all the opportunities were exhausted and the operation was thoroughly prepared, the hostages were released; only one woman died from heart attack. Yet, in Russia it was a primitive storm without any attempts to reach some consent. The official sources lie that there was no other way out, that the terrorist began to shot their captives, while only one person died of a firearm wound, all the others -- as a result of the poisoning.
The concealment of the truthful information about the terrorist act and its consequences, the barefaced lie about the number of the victims and the reasons of their death, the prohibition to the hostages staying in the hospital to meet their relatives – all these facts are the brutal violations of human rights, which may not be excused.
We learned that during the anti-terrorist operation three Ukrainian citizens perished. We believe that the Ukrainian authorities must denounce the brutal actions of the Russian special services and conduct the independent investigation of the fact of the death of our compatriots.
We are astonished with the position of a part of the world community, which, without any analysis of the reasons and consequences of the terrorist act in Moscow, hurried to congratulate the Russian government with the victory. It seems that the Western world does not understand that the terrorist act of 11 September in the USA and the terrorist act in Moscow are caused by different reasons. Alas, the special services of Russia proved that they value the human right for life not more than the terrorists.
Terrorism is a terrible disease of the new millenium. All the people throughout the world must jointly oppose terrorism. Terrorist acts may not be justified, in particular we are not going to excuse the cruel actions of the Chechen terrorists. However, the Russian authorities to a certain extent provoked the tragedy in Moscow with their inhumane policy in Chechnya, the policy, which one may easily call genocide. Russia becomes more and more estranged from the norms acceptable for civilized countries. Unfortunately, many Western politicians pretend not to notice this situation, but the history of the 20th century obviously demonstrated that such position is very dangerous.
Terrorism must be extirpated mercilessly, but it is inadmissible to declare the whole people responsible for actions of some individual fanatics, like it happens now in Chechnya. The war in Chechnya must be stopped, otherwise the terrorist acts will repeat again and again. Violence causes new, greater, violence.
28 October 2002
Only the dialog between civilizations can save us from terror
The terrorist act in Moscow took away the lives of 167 people. I do not separate the terrorists and the hostages on purpose, since all of them are victims. But I do not try to diminish the guilt of the Chechen group that took the hostages.
Terror is one of the most horrible crimes of our time. The Chechens, who occupied the building of the palace of culture „Crystal“ may not be called otherwise but criminals. The whole world was attentively watching the terrible events. Among those, who perished in Moscow, there where three Ukrainian citizens. And it was strange to hear from the Ukrainian authorities the grateful words addressed to the Russian government and special services. Maybe they were grateful that only three Ukrainians were killed and not all 37? Yet, let us recollect that, according to the official version, only one person died of a firearm wound inflicted by terrorists. The others were poisoned with the gas used by the special troops during the storm for saving these people. We have never seen anything so unprofessional, cruel and immoral.
The Russian authorities and special services caused damage not less than terrorists. Yet, the countries, which experienced the terror themselves, hurried to declare that the special services of Russia acted adequately, that the terrorists were the guilty and that the Russian authorities had no other way our. Really?
Let us try to investigate the whole heap of the misinformation, which is indoctrinated to us from the TV screens.
Larisa Bogoraz, a well-known human rights protection activist, in her appeal published below called the terrorists the criminals, but added immediately that the part of the terrorists were widows and orphans, who lost everything because of the shameful war in Chechnya. The terrorist act was an act of despair, and, undoubtedly, the terrorists were ready for the negotiations with the Russian officials, else someone of them would manage to explode himself together with the theatre, hostages and „Alpha“ fighters. If terrorists goal is only revenge, he shall not wait for negotiations or storm, he shall find a great gathering of the hostile people and explode himself together with his victims. The hostages, who appeared on television, told the same: for several minutes before they fell asleep of the gas, they felt the asphyxia and other symptoms of the gas poisoning.
Some part of the terrorists, as the Minister of Interior of Russia informed, managed to hide. So, why did not they detonate the explosives to blow up themselves and everybody, who was in the captured building? Probably, they had no aim to die unconditionally. Yet, the life in Chechnya was the hell for them. We know about the numerous violations of human rights in Chechnya, we know that this war does not spare the lives of the peaceful population. We know that nobody in Russia except several people seriously fights against this war. The Chechens, driven to despair, began the attack, which will influence their international image very negatively. The actions of the terrorists may be regarded only as insanity, since they demanded to stop the war in Chechnya. From whom? From the Russian top authorities, who never suffered from humanism, who wasted in Chechnya the lives of lots of Russian servicemen, not to mention the peaceful local population?
Let us compare the actions of the Chechens with the actions of the terrorists in America and Israel. Does the Palestine kamikazes, who blow themselves in the streets, buses and restaurants in Israel, ask for negotiations? No. On 11 September 2001 in New York, where the terrorist act was a mere attack against the peaceful dwellers, the terrorists perished together with their victims without any attempts to demand something from the USA government. It was revenge.
The Chechen warriors behaved in a quite different way. From the very beginning they demanded the negotiations on the top level. The ambitious Russian state officials decided, naturally, that they were too smart for this. Everything, beginning from Putins motto „no negotiations with terrorists“ to the scandalous operation for freeing the hostages, demonstrated the absolute negligence to human life.
The scandalous incident with the submarine „Kursk“, when the Russian government proudly refused from the aid of foreign rescuers, was repeated again. Who cares about the hundreds of Russian citizens and foreign guests? And who would regard as human creatures the terrorists shot in their sleep? The world community with one accord praised the Russian government and President Putin for the resolute repulse to the terrorists, thus intensifying the anti-Moslem moods and not understanding that these moods involve the world into a catastrophe. The opposition of the two civilizations is obvious, but the politicians prefer to solve all the problems by force, although it is obvious that such methods cannot result in anything good. The situation in Israel confirms this. How even a super-civilized country can resist a man with a bomb, who is ready to die for his ideas? The only solution of this problem is the dialog between the civilizations, looking for the reasons of terror and elimination of these reasons on the world level. The USA provoked the terrorist act of 11 September being a powerful country promoting the values alien to the Moslem world; Russia caused the events of 23-26 October with the cruel war in Chechnya. Israel, in its turn, is driven into a corner, since Arafat only imitates the negotiations. The Israeli authorities cannot find any non-force solutions, and the force solutions are, as one can see, senseless. How many peaceful citizens must be killed by terrorists to make the world understand the causes and the historic motives of terrorism? Why the life of Moslems is so bad that they are ready to die, but to revenge on the Western countries at any price? What is the modern Islamic fundamentalism? If the world community is unable to answer these questions, the terrorist acts, which are actually a form of world war, will occur again and again.
Returning to the events in Russia, one must acknowledge that there we deal with fundamentalism of the both sides. Lately the Russian authorities violate human rights consciously and massively, which was clearly demonstrated by the events in Moscow. The badly prepared storm with the enormous number of victims among the hostages, with using the serious poisoning gas, with concealing the information not only from mass media, but even from the relatives of the victims – all these are the disturbing symptoms, which appear more and more often in the political life of the country. And the world community ignores these facts for some reasons. It is difficult to understand the logic of politicians, but, we believe, it happens because the increase of terrorism causes the restriction of the democracy, strengthening the role of special structures and the state pressure upon the civil society. This happens even in the countries with the developed democracy, so what one may say about Russia, where the democracy is still very young and helpless?
Fighting terrorism has become a handy excuse for any state abusing human rights. That is why such countries justify each other so easily.
The unified standards of individual rights, such as international Conventions and Declarations, was the only mean that saved us from the world war. However, the very first test – the collision with the countries, where the collective rights are the most important, demonstrated how these standards are fragile and imperfect. Yet, the humanity must develop, it must seek the ways to the mutual understanding and peaceful co-existence.
The appeal of Larisa Bogoraz to her compatriots
Ladies and gentlemen! I ask you to forward this appeal to everybody you can, I want to spread it as wide as possible.
Respected compatriots! A week has passed since 23 October, when the astonishing crime was committed. The tragedy came to the end only several days ago.
I may not call the finish of this story either happy, or heroic, or professional – more than a hundred of the perished is a too high price for the victory over the evil. However, it seems to me, one must cast aside the emotions and put the questions demanding not the emotions, but rationality and responsibility.
During these tragic days the question was heard more than once: how could the several tens of widows and orphaned minors dare to commit such an awful crime? Yet, this question mostly concerns the technical details and only a thorough investigation can answer it, since we have not enough information. I propose everyone, the common citizens, writers, journalists, President, and others to answer the question: what is our guilt and our responsibility for this tragedy? We know that the criminals demanded to stop the war in Chechnya and to withdraw the federal military troops from the republic. Naturally, I, as many other people, regard the method chosen by the criminals as unacceptable. Violence in any form generates violence, it cannot settle the political conflicts. I can understand our President and I agree with him that any negotiations and compromises are not permissible while dealing with criminals. At the same time, such position resulted in the death of more than a hundred of innocent victims. I consider that the internal policy of out government is criminal in the sphere of observing the rights of an individual. Yet, we elected this government with our own hands and we are not able to demand from the officials to change their policy.
However, several years ago some Russian citizens demanded to stop the Chechen war. We acted as civilized people, without taking hostages and without violence, we conducted peaceful sanctioned meetings, we wrote protest letters. The meetings were not numerous and the demands were indecisive. Nobody risked to organize an action of civil disobedience. And a number of Russian citizens even supported this dirty and criminal war. Maybe it was the reason why the top authorities ignored our demands? Neither the political leaders nor the President even did start a discussion on this topic, although we were not criminals-terrorists or their followers. It seems that anti-military meetings must be more massive and consistent. I believe that the tragedy could be prevented, if we were less passive and indifferent.
I address this accusation to myself and to every of you, my compatriots!
29 October 02
The Council of Europe published the reports on the periodic visits of the European Committee of preventing torture and cruel treatment in 1998, 1999 and 2001.
On 9 October the Council of Europe published in Strasbourg three reports on the periodic visits of the European Committee of preventing torture and cruel treatment in 1998, 1999 and 2001. These reports communicate that Ukrainian penitentiaries are overcrowded, beggarly and are dangerous concerning catching TB. The reports were published with the consent and comments of Ukraine and are based on the conclusions of three missions of the committee in 1998, 1999 and 2000. During their visits to Ukrainian preliminary prisons, prisons, psychiatric hospitals and army guardhouses the European experts gathered a large number of evidence about bad upkeep conditions and treatment of the detained and condemned, in particular, about frequent beatings by law-enforcers. The reports contain the information that the prisoners are kicked, beaten with fists and clubs, they are suffocated with gas masks.
In the responses of the Ukrainian government, which also were published on 9 October, Ukraine took the obligation to stop such treatment of convicts. In particular, it is proposed to reform the procedure of hiring militiamen and to improve their professional skills. It is written in the reports that the above-mentioned measures were approved by the authorities in 2001. So, the upkeep conditions have been somewhat approved, penitentiary administration took some measures in order to stop the epidemic distribution of TB.
It is noteworthy that the Ukrainian government impeded the publication of the reports, which may be published only after the permission of the state. Yet, they were not the first, so, after some pressure on the side of the Council of Europe and Ukrainian human rights protecting organizations, the reports were at last published. They can be found in the Internet on the site of the Council of Europe (in Ukrainian they were placed by the address http://www.cpt.coe.int/en/states/ukr.htm).
The experts of the Council of Europe plan to come to Ukraine with the fourth periodic visit in the end of the current year.
Ukraine got the 112th place in the rating by the level of the freedom of speech.
The international organization „Reporters without frontiers“ made public the list consisting of 139 countries with their rating by the level of the freedom of speech. Interfax-Ukraine agency informs that the top ten places of the list are occupied by the countries, where this level is the highest: Finland, Iceland, Norway, The Netherlands, Canada, Ireland, Germany, Portugal, Sweden and Denmark.
Italy has the lowest rating among the countries of the European Union – the 40th place.
The United States got the 17th place because of the often arrests of journalists, who refuse to disclose their information sources.
Tajikistan is the leader among the CIS countries – the 86th place. Ukraine is on the 112th position, Russia – on 121st, Belarus – on 124th.
In the very end of the list are Iraq, Vietnam, Cuba, Butan and Turkmenistan. China and North Korea complete the rating list.
The rating was compiled basing on the results of the poll of journalists and experts, who were asked 50 questions each concerning the experience of their work in the 139 countries of the world, in particular, about the censorship and arrests they underwent.
According to the information given by korrespondent.net, Ukraine was included to the list of the countries, where the rights of journalist are brutally violated. The list was compiled by the international organization „Reporters without frontiers“ and the International criminal court. All in all, the list consists of 21 countries, where murders, disappearance and torture of journalist cause no reaction on the side of the authorities.
Vitaliy Dovgich, the deputy manager of the Institute of mass information, who is the representative of „Reporters without frontiers“ in Ukraine, told that these organizations had compiled such a list for the first time.
„The list includes 21 countries, where murders, kidnapping and torture of journalists are not punished, completely or partially, by the authorities. Torture in these countries is frequently sanctioned by the law-enforcing organs. The court system is controlled by the executive power or the corrupted political leaders, who cover up the criminals“, reads the foreword to the list.
Except Ukraine, the list contains the following countries: Algeria, Angola, Bangladesh, Brasilia, Burkina-Faso, Burma, Cambodia, China, Columbia, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Kosovo, Nepal, Russia, Rwanda, Sierra-Leone, Somali, Syria and Tajikistan.
„The Black list of impunity“ will be distributed by all representations of „Reporters without frontiers“ in various countries throughout the world.
The collective of the UNIAN agency is pressed by the Presidents team.
In the beginning of September the change of founders occurred in the information agency UNIAN. According to the information given by Korrespondent.net, earlier the control package of shares of the agency, whose founders were the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine, Union of Lawyers of Ukraine, unions „Ukraina“ and „Prosvita“, belonged to „Privatbank“. Yet, as Mykola Tomenko, the head of the Supreme Rada committee in charge of the freedom of speech and information, told during the round table „Political censorship in Ukraine“, the control over the agency now passed to the structures close to Social-Democratic Party of Ukraine (united) (SDPU(u)). „Privatbank“ administration passed the shares of the UNIAN agency to the top authorities of the SDPU(u) in exchange for the priority in the purchase of the North ore mining and processing enterprise in Krivoy Rog. „The group of politicians decided to concentrate their efforts in the information sphere selling for this the state property“, declared M. Tomenko calling this situation „unprecedented“. The head of the Supreme Rada committee drew the attention of the head of the state to the disagreement of the operating laws with some Presidents decrees and resolutions of the Cabinet of Ministers concerning the activities in information sphere, as well as to the full control on the side the SDPU(u) and Viktor Medvedchuk, the head of Presidents administration, over the distributing of key positions in this sphere and the contents of informational and analytical materials in mass media.
On 1 October the UNIAN made public the appeal of the journalist collective about the internal situation in the agency. In particular, the appeal reads that the agency got under a strong pressure connected with the independent information activities, and that the collective relates this with the appointment a week ago of the new head of information service -- executive manager of the UNIAN Vasyl Yurichko, who represents the interests of Presidents administration.
As Korrespondent.net informed, the collective of the UNIAN agency turned with the open letter to President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma, Head of the Supreme Rada Volodymir Litvin, Head of the Parliament committee in charge of freedom of speech Mykola Tomenko, ombudsperson Nina Karpacheva, Head of the State committee in charge of information policy, TV and radio broadcasting Ivan Chizh, head of the directorate of information policy of the Presidents administration Sergey Vasylyev.
The collective of journalists pointed out that during the last week, after Vasyl Yurichko appeared in the agency and was appointed as the executive manager, they began to feel the display of political censorship. They believe that some instructions given by Yurishko concerning the materials, which had to be shown in the information line of the agency, were caused only by the political conjuncture.
For instance, on 1 October the material „Peoples deputies blackmail the independent press“ appeared in the agency line with the personal signature of V. Yurichko. This material stated that MPs Petro Simonenko, Oleksandr Moroz and Yulia Timoshenko were allegedly pressing on the administration of the UNIAN to get the opportunity to conduct their press conference in the conference hall of the agency. In response to this article the „opposition trio“ declared their intention to turn to court.
The journalists informed that the information about the intention of the deputies to turn to the court was published on the agency line with the title „The „opposition trio“ may turn to court with the claim against the UNIAN administration“. Yet, 30 minutes later the information was removed after the oral order of Vasyl Yurichko. This order was given to the editors in presence of the issuing team. Besides, the material „Opposition deputies believe that usurpation of mass media continues in Ukraine“, which described the assessments of the above-mentioned situation by Yu. Timoshenko and O. Moroz, also was not published.
„During the last week the UNIAN journalists more than once got the instructions concerning the contents of the information issued on the agency line“.
Moreover, V. Yurichko threatened the journalists by sacking in case of not fulfilling his orders about political accents in the materials of the agency.
„The policy carried out by Vasyl Yurichko violates our right for elucidating the events, which occur in Ukraine, as well as the right of our readers, the citizens of Ukraine, to obtain the information“.
On 3 October the Internet site of the rebellious information agency UNIAN was closed. Instead of the homepage of the site one could see the message that the resource was temporary inaccessible „because of technical reasons“ (in Russian). Later the Ukrainian translation of this message was added. Until this the site was the only place, where one could read about the evolution of the conflict between the journalists and the new administration of the agency.
About 11:40 a.m. it became possible to load the site, but the last news on this site were marked by 9:54 a.m.
At the same time the meeting of the shareholders of the UNIAN was hold in the agency.
As the Institute of mass information communicated, the participants of the meeting discussed the conflict between the journalist collective and their new administration represented by Vasyl Yurichko and Oleg Nalivayko. According to the information of one of the UNIAN journalists, during this meeting Yurichko told that he fired Albina Trubenkova from the post of the editor of the political department and said that he would have no objections against the dismissal of other journalists, who signed the protest letter.
V. Yurichko also informed that the agency site was not working because of his order, since the actions of the journalists, who supplemented the resource, were illegal.
After the meeting acting general manager of the UNIAN Vasyl Yurichko stated that the collective and the administration of the agency came to the agreement that the agency policy would not change and will consist of actual and unbiased elucidation of the activities and positions of all political forces.
Oleg Nalivayko promised to communicate the position of the journalists to the board of shareholders. The both parties of the conflict agreed to continue their dialog after the shareholders meeting.
The National Union of journalists of Ukraine declared that it supports the appeal of the agency collective, MPs also joined the conflict. The party „Batkivshchina“ did not miss the opportunity to meddle into the situation too. Fanning the fire of the conflict the party mentions Yurichko in plural generalizing the bureaucrat from journalism to the level of social phenomena. Other opposition mass media act in the same manner.
On 9 October the conference of Ukrainian journalists „Political censorship in Ukraine“ was hold. More than 100 representatives of various mass media and public organizations took part in the conference. They stated that political censorship exists in Ukraine and decided to create the trade union of mass media workers. This is the first case, where not only the eternal question of intellectuals was raised: „What to do?“, but it was also decided to create an acting public organization, which, first of all, would organize the strike committee. Although the majority of the journalists acknowledged that the idea of journalists strike is an extreme method of the struggle, the strike committee will represent the interests of the trade union in all negotiations with the au with the authorities. In what follows we publish the Appeal of the participants of this conference.
The Appeal of the conference of Ukrainian journalists „Political censorship in Ukraine“.
We, representatives of various mass media, the journalist community and public organizations, state that political censorship does exist in Ukraine.
First of all, on the side of the Administration and the President, organs of the executive power and financial business structures supporting them.
In the appendix of this Appeal we give the definition of political censorship.
With the aim to oppose the political censorship as an anti-Constitutional phenomena, which impedes journalists to fulfil their professional duty to present the unbiased and truthful information, with the aim to protect the rights of journalists and the Ukrainian citizens right „to know“, we decided:
• To create the Independent trade union of journalists (ITUJ), which will protect the possibility to fulfil the professional journalists duties properly and the rights of all people, who signed or will sign „The manifesto of the Ukrainian journalists concerning political censorship“ or was included in the list of the participants of the conference „Political censorship in Ukraine“.
• By the consent of those, who voluntarily joined the above-mentioned list, to regard the fact of signing the manifesto or inclusion in the list of the participants of the conference as the application about joining the ITUJ.
This procedure will be valid until the process of registering the trade union is finished. Later the procedure of the acceptance to the trade union will be defined in the state documents of the union.
• To elect the Organizational committee for solving all organizational problems of creating the ITUJ. The composition of the committee: Evhen Glibovitskiy, Boris Grivachevskiy, Sergiy Guz, Oles Kovalchuk, Igor Kulias, Nataliya Ligachova, Roman Skrypin, Albina Trubenkova, Viktor Ukolov, Andrey Shevchenko and Danilo Yanevskiy.
• To create the Strike committee that will have the duty and right to present the demands of the ITUJ conferences to the power and other subjects of political relations in the country, to carry on negotiations and, by the agreement of the majority of the ITUJ members, to initiate the journalists actions of civil disobedience.
• To include to the composition of the Strike committee the following persons: Volodymir Aryev, Evhen Glibovitskiy, Boris Grivachevskiy, Oleksandr Krivenko, Yulia Mostova, Olena Pritula, Sergey Rakhmanin, Roman Skrypin, Taras Strilchyk, Albina Trubenkova and Andrey Shevchenko.
• To give the Strike committee the errand to begin the negotiations with the power and to proclaim our first demands addressed to:
• The Supreme Rada: to conduct in a month the Parliamentary hearings on the problems of political censorship with the participation of MPs, the President of Ukraine, representatives of the executive power, Presidential Administration, public organizations and journalists including the members of the ITUJ. To profile committee of the Supreme Rada in charge of the freedom of speech and information: to regulate legislatively the concept „political censorship“ and the responsibility for using the censorship;
• The owners and founders of mass media of all forms of property: to proclaim the moratorium for fire of journalists because of political reasons until the question about political censorship is regulated legislatively, but not less than for six months;
• The General Prosecutors office: to start the criminal cases for violating Article 171 of the Criminal Code, which envisages the responsibility for premeditated impeding to the professional activities of journalists;
• The General Prosecutors office: to initiate the court process and punishment of the actual guilty of the death of our colleagues – Georgiy Gongadze and Igor Aleksandrov.
The participants of the conference of the Ukrainian journalists inform about their demands the Supreme Rada, MPs, President of Ukraine, Head of the Presidential Administration, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, international and Ukrainian public, owners, founders and managers of mass media of all forms of property.
The appeal was signed by 91 participants of the conference of Ukrainian journalists „Political censorship in Ukraine“.
THE APPENDIX TO THE APPEAL OF THE CONFERENCE „POLITICAL CENSORSHIP IN UKRAINE“.
We belive that, according to Article 5 of the Law „On information“, Articles 2 and 6 of the Law „On printed mass media (press) in Ukraine“, Article 2 of the Law „On TV and radio broadcasting“ and our personal experience of the work in various mass media, the following activities may be regarded as political censorship:
• The demand to agree beforehand the materials and informational messages, as well as the prohibition to publish the materials and messages on the side of the state organs, enterprises, establishments, organizations or unions of citizens (political parties), excluding the cases, where the official is the author of this information was interviewed;
• The prohibition on the side of the above-listed subjects, as well as owners and founders of mass media, to elucidate certain political and economic topics or the activities of the political and public figures, which violates the citizens right for obtaining from mass media the unbiased and truthful information;
• The pressure on the owners, founders and editors of mass media on the side of the above-listed subjects with the aim of dictating the character of interpretation of facts and events, with the aim of manipulation with information and public opinion and with the aim of impeding mass media to obey the principles of ideological and political pluralism;
• The psychological pressure upon a journalist on the side of the above-listed subjects, as well as owners, founders and managers of mass media with the aim to made the journalist to refuse from the publication of his material;
• The attempts of the above-listed subjects to monopolize (by economic, political and forceful methods) the informational space, to dictate to the great number of mass media the unified standard of the information policy;
• The attempts of the above-listed subjects, as well as owners, founders and managers of mass media to impede the professional activities of journalists, which are stated in Article 26 of the Law „On printed mass media (press) in Ukraine“.
We are sure that there are very distinct criteria to distinguish the Editorial Policy of an edition from Censorship.
The Editorial Policy must meet all the demands of the operating laws of Ukraine and the Constitution. It may and must be openly announced by owners, founders and editors of mass media.
All other forms and methods of influencing the mass media activities and the content of published information is Censorship.
Kyiv, 05 October 2002
Lugansk journalists ask the Supreme Rada to save them from the unfair claims
Lugansk journalists turned to MPs with the proposition to introduce changes into the laws regulating the informational activities. The cause for this appeal was the closure of the newspaper „Rakurs-plus“.
After the newspaper published the material describing how Volodymir Medianik, a deputy of the local council, refused to render aid to the teachers of town school No. 5, the deputy felt himself insulted and turned to the court with the claim about protecting his honor, dignity, business reputation and demanded the compensation of the moral damage equal to 100 thousand UAH.
As Mykola Severin, the editor of the newspaper „Rakurs-plus“ informed, the Leninskiy district court of Lugansk arrested the property of the editorial board and ten future issues of the newspaper even before the beginning of the consideration of the case.
The next morning the court officers came to the newspaper office to arrest the property. They did not manage to do this only owing to the newspaper staff, although the officers blamed them for impeding the fulfillment of a court resolution.
Severin added that he did not agree with the court resolution and would protest against it. In spite of this, the publishing of the newspaper will be actually blocked until the end of the year.
3 October 2002
A new British initiative in the sphere of mass media.
The project „Media reforms“ approved by the British government is aimed to change the attitude to the freedom of speech and the independent mass media in the Ukrainian society. The main attention is paid to those professional groups, whose activities are directly connected with the information sphere: journalists, MPs, businessmen, state officers, judges, advocates, leaders of public organizations, etc. For the cooperation with these professional groups the Center of media reforms will be created at the National university „Kyivo-Mogilianska Academy“.
The organizers of the project „Media reforms“ believe that, in spite of the positive changes that occurred in Ukraine during the last ten years, the further movement of our country towards the creation of law-abiding state and the development of civil society is impossible without the freedom of speech, independent mass media and professional independence of journalists. In the opinion of Sergey Kvita, the manager of the center of media reforms, the concept of the freedom of speech lies in the sphere of the national interests of Ukraine and is very important both for forming the international image of Ukraine and for the prospects of the further development of the democratic processes in our state.
The participants of the project „Media reforms“ from the Ukrainian side is the National university „Kyivo-Mogilianska Academy“ (the School of journalism), on whose base the center of media reforms is created, the independent association of announcers, the magazine „Teleradiokuryer“ and „Internews-Ukraine“ (the Internet edition „Telekritika). The British side is presented by the firm TADS, Leeds University and the number of independent British media experts. The project will be realized by the permanently acting press club of media reforms, as well as through the publishing, organizational, educational and research activities and lobbying.
The British Ministry in charge of the international development realizes this project in the framework of the British support of the Ukrainian democratic reforms. The more detailed information can be obtained in the National University „Kyivo-Mogilianska Academy“.
Who will stop the „quiet hurricane“ in the Ternopil oblast forests?
Little by little people are forgetting the unheard-of hurricane that swept over the Ternopil oblast in June 2002. The villages have been already restored, but in the forest the picture is distressing: turned out roots, splintered trunks, mouldering logs covered with mushrooms… Today, two and a half years after the disaster, the majority of the forests are not brought in order still. The state forestries insist that they have no finances for the clearing and that there is no demand for firewood. At the same time they fell other, very often alive and healthy, threes – oaks, beeches, ash-trees, wood cherries. One may not help to get rid of the thought: one hurricane passed, but other, man-caused and so „quiet“, is still whirling over our woods.
In private talks foresters complain about the illegal felling, which they are made to do (and to hide), about the pay arrears, about some strange and probably also illegal „Lviv innovations“, about their bosses, who do not care for the development of forest branch and only for the own profit obtained from selling the wood. At the same time almost every interview in the press devoted to these problems describe the absolute idyll: from the lyrical titles (something like „Wood symphony“) to the optimistic reports about the increase of incomes from the export of wood abroad. For instance, only in 2000 the Chortkiv forestry increased the export in 2.6 times! For some reasons nobody asked the question, from whom we are stealing this wood planted by our forefathers. Maybe from our children? Why we export our wood to the countries, who have twice more forests?
For whom the laws and ecological programs are written? For example, the State program „Forests of Ukraine in 2002-2015“ plans to extend the forest areas for 2.2 million hectares. The Chortkiv district program for protecting the environment envisages the increase the percentage of forest lands to the level of the ecological optimum, i.e. to 20-25%, while now this number is about 13%. And the degree of afforestation decreases from year to year: while in 1971-75 the Chortkiv forestry planted 1380 hectares of forest, in recent years this figure diminished to zero. It seems a mockery, but our Forest Code states: „Ukrainian forests are the national wealth of the country, they mainly fulfil the ecological (water protection, sanitary, health protection, recreation), aesthetic, pedagogic and other functions; they have the restricted operational value and are the subject of state control and protection“. The problem is that nowadays almost all Ukrainian regions experience the deficit of forests. In old times the forest landscapes were the most typical in Ukraine. Yet, after many years of irrational management, wars and social cataclysms, the Ukrainian forests were, so to speak, „repressed“: their area diminished thrice during the last century. So wide-scaled extirpation caused, of course, the disturbance of the natural balance: it is the reason of the rapid exhaustion of the fertile soils, drying and silting rivers, deterioration of subsoil waters, climate fluctuations, irreversible disappearance of biological species, frequent hurricanes and other natural disasters… If we would not restore the area of our forests to the certain level established by scientists, the so-called ecological optimum, we will finally lose the basis of the natural balance of the country.
I am not surprised when the numerous controlling and law-enforcing organs disregard the facts of the illegal felling in our woods, the facts that nevertheless are described in many „private“ talks. Naturally, it is abnormal, but… „we have what we have“. Our country is not law-abiding yet. The controlling instances do not regard forests as a living creature, as a value as it is. When I sent the deputies information requests on the violations committed by the Chortkiv forestry to the prosecutors office, I did not expect the irrefragable answer. All was predictable: they refused to give me any information with the following motivation (verbatim): „the investigation of the actions having any criminal features, including crimes in the ecological sphere, does not belong to the functions of the oblast council“. Yet, in spite of the low level of my legal knowledge, I find in Article 13 of the Forest Code the assertion that they are oblast councils, who must „control the protection, use and renascence of forests“. That is why I believe that the oblast prosecutors office paltered in a certain sense. In January and February of 2002 the „Ecobulletin“ edited by the Chortkiv ecological organization „Zeleny svit“ published two problematic „forest“ materials. The reaction of the authorities was also predictable – the deathly silence.
The thing I cannot understand is why the people, who, for all their lives, planted and protected forests, were silent about the destruction of the forest fund? Why, a real forester, as well as a real teacher, surgeon or bee-master, is not a mere profession, it is a certain life philosophy, humane, wise and sacrificial. The basis of this philosophy is unselfish work for next generations, even without any hopes to see the full results of this work with own eyes. That is why, before this curtain of silence had already disappeared, I felt that something was very wrong. But they began to speak: foresters, forest engineers, managers of state forestries and others. I was listening for them both in the forests and in the oblast council, and I have no reasons to distrust them. The open letter to the top state authorities of Ukraine and the oblast signed on 21 September 2002 by several tens of forest workers describes the degree of the barbaric extermination of our woods. The noble leafy groves turned into the currency accounts of private firms, into luxurious cars, cottages and swimming pools of the „forest generals“, the bureaucrats, who are in charge of our woods.
Obviously, the „forest generals“ are not individual offenders, they demonstrate the wide-scale social phenomena. The misuses of such level are impossible in an open civil society with a well-controlled power. The all-national corruption and shadow business are patronized in the top state offices, political structures and central „law-enforcing“ agencies.
I am expecting some remarks like „Where are the proofs?“ If to say about proofs, as early as in the Ancient Rome the lawyers considered the „agumentum ex silencio“, that is the so-called „proof concluded from silence“. And the facts of silence are more than numerous. Naturally, the scandal around the Ternopil oblast woods touches the interests of many state officials, so they trey to conceal the scandal. I have already mentioned the passivity on the side of the Prosecutors office. Foresters Yu. Rosly and Y. Freyak, who tried to denounce the forest affair, had been sacked even before the special commissions began to function. Why forest workers unanimously speak about the atmosphere of fear and threats? Who ordered to destroy the entire run of the newspaper „Svoboda“ with the information of the press service of the oblast council (the owner of the newspaper is, by the way, the oblast council itself!)? Further the situation changes from bad to worse: the request of MP I. Stoyko with the demand to investigation the case of „Ternopillis“ disappears from the secretariat of the Supreme Rada of Ukraine. And, maybe, the beginning of the special session of the oblast council was not accidental too: the problems were considered of the political crisis and the violations in the forest branch of the oblast.
However, if we want to solve the problem, we must forget about the esprit de corps. All these tricks are only postponing the solution of the problem and burdening it with new abuses. It seems to me that the main goal is not to punish the „forest generals“. We must dismantle the whole system of this shadow business, which, like a hurricane, destroys the national wealth created by many generations. It is a very complicated task. However, we must do this. This is our land. This is our duty not to permit these „quiet hurricanes“ to ruin this land.
P.S. Lately the rumors were confirmed about the destruction in a printing shop of the entire run of the issue of 17 October 2002 of the newspaper „Svoboda“, the printed media of the Ternopil oblast council and state administration. The reason for this destruction was that the newspaper published the information given by I. Moroz, the head of the press center of the council. The information concerned the work of the special deputies commission created by A. Zhukinskiy on 9 October 2002 in response to the open letter of the numerous group of forestry workers to the top state officials of Ukraine. In their letter the foresters wrote about the serious violations on the side of „Ternopillis“ (the state organization in charge of the woods of the oblast), in particular its general manager I. Popadynets. These actions, they wrote, caused the great damage to the forest fund and created the intolerable moral and psychological climate in the enterprises of this branch.
The attempts to block the work of the commission have been made from the first day of its functioning. It seems to me that the session of the oblast council on 18 October 2002 was upset not accidentally: the session was going to discuss the question about „the case of the Forest general“ (it is rumored that general manager I. Popadinets calls himself so). On 29 October 2002 on the session of the council I handed the individual request, in which I proposed to issue the warning concerning the clumsy attempts to hush-hush the crisis in the forest industry and to investigate the events connected with the destruction of the run of the newspaper „Svoboda“. Yet, neither the Head of the council not Head of the administration I. Kurnitskiy commented in any way the fact that the newspaper was not issued. I do not know in what reading the session decision concerning my request was adopted. In particular, I am interested, does it mention the investigation of the newspaper scandal. But I learned from some state officials close to the oblast council apparatus, who wished to remain incognito, that the destruction of the newspaper was forestalled by the telephone call from… LUDMILA KUCHMA with the proposition „to leave alone“ and „not to defame“ the general manager of „Ternopillis“. This call made the administration of the oblast to sacrifice the newspaper „Svoboda“ and the freedom of information as a whole. I know that after this blatant arbitrariness MP Ivan Stoyko also handed the request with the proposition to create the deputies investigation commission. The results of considering this requests are unknown. The hope that the case of „Ternopillis“ will be investigated efficiently seems groundless taking into account the mass pressure upon the people, who try to direct the case to the rightful course. For example, the previous written request of MP I. Stoyko was STOLEN (!!!) from the secretariat of the Supreme Rada. In October, according to the order of the State committee in charge of forests, two persons were fired from their posts, who dared „to wash the dirty linen in public“: Yu. Rosly, the manager of the Ternopil forestry, and Y. Freyak, the manager of the Buchatski forestry. The workers of forestries point out the formal character of the checks conducted by the state ecological inspection and the commission of the State committee of forests. At the same time the traces of the illegal felling in forests are urgently covered up. The people, who signed the above-mentioned collective letter, are threatened and persecuted. Only on 24 October 2002, that is in a month after the letter was presented to the oblast council, the text of the letter was printed in the newspapers „Vilne zhyttia“ and “Svoboda“. I, as a deputy of the oblast council and a member of its special committee, wrote my comment to these events titled „Who will stop the quiet hurricane in the Ternopil oblast forests?“ This comment was not accepted by any newspaper of the oblast. Journalists are afraid of this topic, they understand that very great money and the interests of very important officials are connected with the illegal feeling and the export of the wood of superior quality abroad. In their turn, those, who have the profit from this business, know: the public apathy and passivity are the best allies for them. Nothing can stop them in their efforts to prevent the publicity. Today they „suspended“ the newspaper „Svoboda“. What are they going to do tomorrow?
Commentary: The problem described in the article by Oleksandr Stepanenko is not only an ecological or human rights protection problem, or a problem of forest-guards and journalists. This is a problem of all citizens, of all our society.
A group of insatiable profit-seekers are destroying our environment and the future of our Ukraine. They do their best to prevent any truthful publications on this topic. With such tendencies Ukraine may become a desert like Sahara earlier than the predictions about the global rise in temperature would come true.
It is necessary to send mass protest letters to the Supreme Rada, to the General Prosecutors office, to the Ministry of Ecology, to the State committee in charge of forests and, what id the main, to the State committee of information policy, which permits this censorship. The bureaucrats stifle „Svoboda“, the Ternopil oblast newspaper. They stifle the freedom of speech and thought. And later our children will suffocate because of the lack of oxygen – dead trees cannot produce it!
Sergiy Fedorynchyk, the head of the information center of the ecological association „Zeleny svit“
On some problems of human rights protection movement in Ukraine
Does the civil society exist in Ukraine and, in particular, that part of it, which is traditionally named human rights protection movement? These questions, like many other questions of the post-totalitarian society, may be answered both „yeas“ and „no“ these both answers may be confirmed by weighty arguments.
While considering these questions one must bear in mind the objectively grounded antagonism between the civil society and the state. Any state (including the countries with well-established democracy), tending to stability and order, tries to expand the sphere of its influence, to increase areas of regulating the life of its citizens, thus decreasing the freedom of choice. This is the nature of a state. A state official always thinks that he is a priori cleverer than a man in the street and knows better how the latter must live. This expansion is opposed by the civil society – a set of all non-governmental structures, which is self-conscious, a structured non-governmental part of the people. Its political sense lies in identifying itself with the dominating factor of the social progress, in understanding its natural superiority over the state. The developed civil society, being an intellectual opponent of the state, makes the state to be oriented to public interests and public opinion in the main aspects of interior and foreign state policy. Fulfilling the protecting functions, the civil society makes the violations of human rights the object of public attention and analysis, it supports justice or minimizes these violations.
In a totalitarian country, which the USSR was, the civil society was completely suffocated. On the contrary, everyone, who tried to struggle for order and justice, was completely discredited by the dependent mass media and corrupted public organization created by the CPSU. Any attempts to create any public structures from below resulted in the unpleasant attention on the side of the former 5th Directorate of the KGB and in the suspension of their activities. Nonetheless, the people were, in Ukraine in particular, who, being not afraid of the repressions, joined various independent organizations, including human rights protecting ones. Yet, it was impossible to legalize these informal associations. With the beginning of the so-called perestroyka numerous cultural, ecological and political public structures appeared. It is essential that almost everyone, who named himself a human rights protector, went in for politics. In the end of the 80s all the parties of national-democratic direction were headed by the former political prisoners. Human rights protection organizations had to be created from the roots.
The Law of Ukraine „On citizens unions“, which regulates NGO activities, came into effect on 16 June 1992. BY 1 January 1996 about 5000 NGOs were registered in Ukraine, up to the beginning of 2002 – about 37000 NGOs. It seems that public movements become more and more significant and influential. Nonetheless, all experts notice weakness and shapelessness of the civil society in Ukraine. Last year, judging by the results of research, the activities of only 5000-6000 organization was noteworthy. And how many of them may be related to real NGOs that protect public interests?
British researcher Alan Fowler from the International NGO Training and Research Centre) pub the book „Striking a Balance“ devoted to the problems of the development of non-governmental unprofitable organizations. He investigated the activities of about 700 NGOs throughout the world and reached distressing conclusions: not more than 15-20% of NGOs may be regarded as influencing the actions of authorities and protect other public interests. The remaining 80-85% are created for other purposes. Such NGOs are especially frequent in the countries of the East and Central Europe, former USSR, Latin America and Africa. Fowler classified these NGOs as follows [ Information from http://www.washprofile.com].
• BRINGO (Briefcase NGO) – is created by politicians, commercial or mafia structures only for writing propositions to state organs. These NGOs do nothing else.
• CONGO (Commercial NGO) -- is created by business for decreasing taxes, obtaining the needed equipment, aid in signing contracts and lobbying the interests of the mother-firm in state organs.
• GRINGO (Government NGO) – is created by state organs for imitating and influencing public activities. According to Fowlers data, such NGOs make the lion share in African countries.
• MANGO (Mafia NGO) – is created by criminal groups for money washing, raising their image, for masking their criminal activities and pressure on the administration. As Fowler states, such NGOs flourish in the East and Central Europe and former USSR.
• MONGO (My own NGO) – is created only for self-expression of a certain individual.
• PANGO (Party NGO) – this from is most popular in the Central Asia and Indo-China. It enables political parties to carry out their propaganda and to lobby their interests on different levels of power.
• QUANGO (Quasi NGO) – is created by the state for imitating opposition activities and demonstrating it to international community.
Each one may find corresponding examples in the Ukrainian reality. Even without conducting social research one may be sure that the classification and characteristics given by Fowler are also suitable for Ukrainian NGOs.
In the database „Partners“ created and supported by the KhG about 200 NGOs are registered, which have human rights protection among their statute goals, about 10-15 of them, by our estimate, work on the professional level. Is it many or few? If one recollects that ten years ago they did not exist at all, then it seems many. Yet, if one compares their number with Western countries, where human rights protecting NGOs are counted tens and even hundreds thousands, then it seems negligibly few, and the influence of the Ukrainian NGOs on the events is practically absent. However, the results of the work of even such a small handful of human rights protecting organizations are astonishing. On their account they have hundreds of victorious courts cases, positive changes in laws, preparation of independent reports on the fulfillment by Ukraine of her international obligations, publication of basic documents on human rights, organization of educational seminars for various professional and social groups and many other successful actions. Yet, they remain unnoticeable on the background of mass violations of human rights. Our experience shows that the activities of human rights protecting organizations are more fruitful, when several such organizations join their efforts. In our opinion, the degree of ripeness of human rights protecting NGOs is already such that it is possible to speak about the creation of institutional opportunities of cooperation. It is desirable to discuss the question about the perfection of the existing interaction mechanisms without organizational blending and the expediency of the creation the joint organizational structures for increasing the capabilities and the influence of human rights protection movement as a whole. So, in our opinion, it would be reasonable to organize the Common Council of human rights protecting organizations, which would realize the connection with the Parliamentary Committee on human rights, national minorities and interethnic relations and with the ombudspersons staff, would suggest some standards of human rights protecting NGOs activities, standards of their behavior and self-regulation. If the Common Council is created and its activities appear successful, it will be possible to make the next step and to raise question about the creation of the National association of non-governmental human rights protecting organizations.
The development of Ukrainian NGOs is braking with obsolete laws, whose imperfection is aggravated by administrative and court practices. Let us consider two most essential, in our opinion, drawbacks of the Law „On citizens unions“.
First, a public organization is defined by Article 3 as a union of citizens for servicing their legal social, economic, creative, age, national-cultural, sporty and other common interests. This definition is treated by executive organs literally, that is they regard public unions as protecting interests of their members only. Remark that political interests are absent in this list, i.e. there are no legal grounds for creating public political NGOs, in particular, human rights protecting ones. In later years we have observed the growth of the number of messages about the refusals to register organizations on the base of disagreement of their statute goals with Article 3. The chances to win such cases in court are very weak: in its letter No. 01-8/319 of 6 July 2000 the Superior Arbitrary court of Ukraine pointed out that „a citizens union is created for joint realizing by its members their rights and freedoms on the basis of the unity of interests and the fulfillment of the duties, which reflect the main goal, tasks, directions, forms and methods of the activities of such unions“. The Lugansk directorate of justice refused to register the changes in the statute of the Lugansk NGO „Postup“, which declared as the main goal of its activities „cultural and educational work among children and youth and stimulating their creative activities“. The refusal was based namely on the disagreement with Article 3 and the above-mentioned letter.
Secondly, the sources of financing Ukrainian NGOs are strictly limited. The laws concerning taxation of the income do not distinguish NGOs from the establishments created for extracting profit. In fact, Ukrainian NGOs may not earn money for supporting their statute activities, otherwise they will loose the status of non-profitable ones. Our laws do not encourage charity of businessmen, who may direct for charity not more than untaxable 4% of the income. So, practically the only source of financing of Ukrainian NGOs, whose main condition of successful activities is the independent of the state, business, political parties, etc., remain Western charity funds. The experience of the cooperation with such funds proves that human rights protecting organizations preserve their independence.
It follows that there is an urgent necessity to introduce changes in the laws on NGOs and in the practice.
The degree of freedom of Ukrainian NGOs activities is sharply lowered also because of the absence of the law on the procedure of holding peaceful public actions; this serves a reason for numerous conflicts, which often lead to violent clashes. It is enough to recollect about the events of 9 March 2001, 16 September 2002 and many others. Ukrainian laws in general do not treat such terms as „picket“, „tent camp“, etc. The organs of state power and local self-rule still use the Edict of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR of 18 July 1988, which contradicts Article 39 of the Ukrainian Constitution, since the edict introduces only permissive procedure of public actions. Since other laws are absent, courts must base their decision on this edict. Yet, the adoption of the needed law in the Parliament proceeds with many difficulties. The drafts of the Law prepared by MPs G. Udovenko and V. Pustovoytov were considered in the first reading by the Supreme Rada on 22 March 2001, the draft by V. Pustovoytov was adopted as main. This draft has been already prepared for the second reading with all corrections taken into consideration, but it is not considered yet. At the same time the Ministry of Interior jointly with the USS developed an alternative law draft, agreed it with the Ministry of Justice and passed to the Cabinet of Ministers for consideration [ „Zerkalo nedeli“, No. 38, 5 October 2002]. So, there appeared an urgent need to organize a wide public discussion of these drafts and to accelerate the adoption of the law. From this point of view it is very important to hold the seminar planned a year ago by the KhG in the framework of the cooperation with the Directorate of human rights in the Council of Europe. The seminal will be conducted on 28-29 November 2002 in Kyiv. We believe that it would be expedient to join the seminar with the debate of the conception, problems and tasks of the modern human rights protection movement using for this one additional day 27 November. It is also needed to prepare for the seminar the edition that will contain the survey of the messages about violating the freedom of peaceful gatherings and freedom of associations, the analysis of the corresponding laws and law drafts, the materials concerning the conception and tasks of the modern human rights protection movement and the propositions on perfecting the mechanisms of the interaction of human rights protecting organizations. In particular, it would be useful to remind the Ukrainian public about the law draft prepared by the KhG in 1998 „On public (civil) control over the state activities“ that, as we learned not long ago, on May 2002 was suggested by Moldova President M. Voronin to the Moldova Parliament for adoption.
So, we invite our colleagues to discuss the above-mentioned questions on the pages of „Prava ludyny“, by e-mail, on the forum of our site, etc. If the majority decides that it is preferable to meet in advance of the seminal of 28-29 November, then we will try to find money to add one more day, 27 November, for the work meeting.
Professor Valeriy Ivanov. You have begun to consider a very important problem. NGOs activities are very far from humanistic ideals. Yet, in my opinion, the problem is not only that too many organizations follow Mr. Fowlers classification, but also that leaders and members of NGOs have no proper experience of such activities (both financial, which is very important, and in general NON-GOVERNMENTAL). It seems to me that this is a proper explanation why NGOs working efficiently in media sphere, for example, can be counted by fingers, while the number of registered ones is tremendous, as it appeared during creating the Public council in charge of informational policy. Sifting of inefficient structures is a natural process, but, on the contrary, efficient structures must be aided, especially in the regions, which have difficulties to develop because of the lack of experience.
Mykhaylo Bardin, the head of the board of the Podolsky center of human rights. I hope that the discussion devoted to this topic will be vivid and fruitful. I encourage the creation of the Public council of human rights protecting organizations. Its role and external ties certainly must be discussed too.
It is necessary to develop the general standards for human rights protecting organizations. The standards that have been distributed by the KhG for already the long time may serve as the basis. I agree not with all arguments of the article, but I consider is a sound basis for the continuation of the work with the general standards.
Volodymir Shcherbachenko, the students brotherhood of the Lugansk oblast. Great thanks to the KhG that they dare to raise such topics.
• Taking into account the positive image of the KhG one can feel certain hopes that this is done rather for the common benefit of the society, and not for some other interests, which, unfortunately, happens rather often. We hope that the organizational power of the structure will enable it to achieve a favorite finish.
• In our opinion, the debate of the creation of the institutional opportunities for the cooperation of human rights protecting NGOs is very urgent.
• It seems that the tasks of the Public council of human rights protecting organizations must include the links not only with the Parliamentary Committee of human rights, national minorities and interethnic relations, as well as with the ombudspersons staff, but also with other committees.
During the debate of the cooperation of the human rights protecting NGOs, the topic certainly must be raised of the perfection of the joint work of such NGOs and the legislative power (it is obvious that many human rights protectors are interested in the cooperation with the committees in charge of ecology, science, education, etc.).
• The idea of the creation of the National association of non-governmental human rights protecting organizations in the prospect also seems very promising and useful.
• We support lobbying the changes, which must be introduced in the laws on NGOs. Some time ago, when organization, the students brotherhood, was re-registered, the Lugansk oblast directorate of justice made us to change some statute statements concerning purposes and tasks of our organization forcing us to narrow them to satisfying the needs of our members. Because of these changes the tax inspection imposed on us such taxes that we loose 30% of all money coming to our account.
• The problems of taxes and legality of public actions are not less actual.
• There is a technical problem. The author of the article proposed the discussion in various „places“ – „on the pages of „Prava ludyny“, by e-mail, on the forum of our site, etc.“. Maybe, this proposition ought to be somewhat more concrete, otherwise a reader will hesitate where to send his arguments.
We hope that this process will develop.
Kuchma appointed officials in charge of the development of civil society
The Commission of encouraging democratization and development of civil society will, among others, provide the consent of actions concerning political reforms and hold consultations between citizens unions and organs of state power for achieving consensus in this sphere.
This is stipulated by President Kuchmas Decree of 7 October 2002.
Along with it, the commission, being a consulting organ acting at Presidents administration, will encourage forming the institutes of civil society, as well as organizing and conducting the public forums in the regions of Ukraine and all-Ukrainian public forum. The Commission will also aid the formation of the public TV and radio broadcasting based on representation of various layers of the society.
The Presidents Decree approved of the commission composition: former MP Inna Bogoslovskaya, the president of the consulting firm „Prudens“ (on her consent); Evgeniy Golovakha, a main researcher of the Institute of philosophy of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine; Mikhail Pogrebinskiy, the manager of the Kyiv center of political research and the theory of conflicts (on his consent); Georgiy Pocheptsov, the head of the directorate of strategic initiatives of the Presidents administration. Aleksandr Chalenko, the head of the Internet department of the executive committee of the Social-democratic party of Ukraine (united), is appointed the secretary of the commission (on his consent). The commission is headed by Vladimir Malinkovich, the manager of the Ukrainian department of the international institute of humanitarian and political research.
As it was made public before, Kuchma in his Decree renamed the Commission of encouraging development of civil society created in spring 2001 into the Commission of encouraging democratization and development of civil society.
The service car of MP V. Sivkovich was attacked by armed civilly clothed law-enforcers
In the early hours of the morning of 12 October 2002, in the very center of Kyiv, some men attacked MP Volodymir Sivkovich; journalist Andrey Kudin, a people deputy of the Pecherskiy district of Kyiv: and well-known businessman Konstantin Grigorishin, a Russian citizen and the president of the joint Ukrainian-Russian enterprise „Energostandard group“. They were attacked near the restaurant „Egoist“ situated on the corner of Moskovskaya and P. Mirny streets. The service car of MP V. Sivkovich (Mercedes, 0166-ВР), in which A. Kudin and K. Grigorishin were going too, was attacked by civilly clothed armed men. They appeared to be officers of the Directorate for fighting organized crime, the Pecherskiy district militia precinct and the special militia troop „Sokol“, all in all -- more than 40 people. The attack was committed with brutal violations of Ukrainian laws and without any grounds. The law-enforcers illegally used physical force against deputies Sivkovich and Kudin, their assistants and businessman Grigorishin. The attackers managed to drag out Grigorishin from MPs car, and then he was kicked and beaten with tommy-gun butts. After this the law-enforcers handcuffed Grigorishin before eyewitnesses, openly (!) put a gun to his pocket, threw him to their car and transported him to the Pecherskiy district militia precinct. When the advocates of the detained came to the precinct, they were told that Grigorishin had been detained for illegal possessing and carrying arms. The militiamen did not care that there were no Grigorishins fingerprints on the gun, and that Grigorishin came by airplane from Moscow to Kyiv only several hours before the incident. During the custom control Grigorishin had no firearms. Besides he did not need any weapons, since from the airplane to the place of the attack Grigorishin was accompanied by six armed guards from the special militia troop „Titan“.
MPs signed the appeal concerning the illegal detention of Grigorishin. This appeal, in particular, reads: „We assess the detention of Konstantin Grigorishin as a rude provocation initiated by criminals and corrupted officials for grabbing the property of profitable enterprises. Such actions threaten not only the Russian-Ukrainian relations and the investment climate in our country, but also the lots of many thousands of Ukrainian citizens, who may loose their jobs next day.
We appeal to the President of Ukraine, to the Speaker of the Supreme Rada, to the Prime-Minister, to the General Prosecutor of Ukraine, to MPs, to heads of militia and the USS with the demand to stop immediately the illegal actions directed against K. Grigorishin and to punish the instigators of this provocation“.
What happened vividly demonstrated again that there are no law and order in Ukraine. Neither Ukrainian citizens nor citizens of other states can feel them safe in our country, neither deputys ID (which, according to Ukrainian laws, guarantees the inviolability) nor armed guards (by the way, the guards disappeared from the place of the crime several moments before the attack and reappeared only when everything was over) can protect them from criminal attacks, and law-enforcers are still obedient puppets in the hands of criminals and are the most convenient executors of such actions.
The court decided to keep Grigorishin under custody.
The Shevchenkivsky district court of Kyiv chose the preventive measure, keeping under custody, for Konstantin Grigorishin, the former head of the observing council „Sumyoblenergo“. He is kept in the preliminary prison No. 13 of Kyiv. The former head of the observing council of the energy supplying company „Sumyoblenergo“, Russian citizen Grigorishin was detained in the small hours of Sunday morning in Kyiv for resistance to militia in executing their duties. Law-enforcers refused to release Grigorishin explaining that he carried a gun with cartridges in his trousers pocket and had no license for this gun. Grigorishin insists that he was framed. Earlier Grigorishin was a member of the observing councils of energy supplying companies „Sumyoblenergo“, „Lvivoblenergo“ and Zaporozhye ferroalloy plant. In September Grigorishin was elected a member of the observing council of the plant „Zaporizhtransformator“ – the largest producer of transformers.
Brief reference. Konstantin Grigorishin, born in 1965 in Zaporozhye, graduated from Moscow Institute of physics and technology, is a candidate of sciences (more or less equivalent to Ph.D.). Deing a citizen of Russia, K. Grigorishin decided to direct his talent to the development of Ukrainian economy. Owing to his work and the efforts of young manager group „„Energostandard“ Group“ more than 50000 Ukrainians retained their jobs and get wages twice larger than the average one in Ukraine. And it was not accidental that Ukrainian President L. Kuchma and his Russian counterpart V. Putin chose Zaporozhye for their meeting on 6 October 2002. During this meeting the enterprise „Dneprospetsstal“, due to Grigorishins team, got a high estimate of the Russian President as „the most successful Russian-Ukrainian project“.
Monthly bulletin Prava Ludyny (Human rights), 2002, №10