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On rehabilitation of the victims of political repressions in Ukraine.

The Law „On rehabilitation of the victims of political repressions in Ukraine“ was adopted by the Supreme Rada of Ukraine on 17 April 1991. As soon as the Commissions created in accordance with this Law began to function, it appeared that the law had considerable drawbacks, among them: the absence of protection of the members of families of the repressed, of the children born in concentration camps or in exile, as well as the need for specification of the tools of the valuation and restitution of property, compensation sums, etc.

That is why since 1992 the union of political prisoners, organization „Memorial“ and some MPs repeatedly presented for the consideration by the Supreme Rada the drafts of changes and additions to the Law of 17 April 1991.

Yet, no positive changes have been introduced until now. Meanwhile, the people, who were punished without guilt cannot get rehabilitation and compensation of moral and material losses.

Shame upon our state and society!

This year the Supreme Rada at last began to consider the draft of the new version of the Law on rehabilitation, which took account of almost all principal drawbacks of the Law of 17 April 1991.

The Kharkov group for human rights protection sent the letters supporting the draft to G. Udovenko, the Head of the Supreme Rada Committee in charge of human rights, national minorities and interethnic relations, to ombudsperson N. Karpacheva and to some MPs.

We appeal to human rights protecting organizations, local organizations of „Memorial“, unions of political prisoners and other organizations to turn to MPs and mass media with the letters endorsing the adoption of the new version of the Law „On rehabilitation of the victims of political repressions in Ukraine“ at the earliest possible date

The Kharkov group for human rights protection,

Kharkov organization „Memorial“,

editorial board of the bulletin „Prava ludyny“

The open letter of the Kharkov group for human rights protection

The Kharkov group for human rights protection and Kharkov organization „Memorial“ turn your attention to the brutal violation of the Ukrainian Constitution connected with the application of the Law „On rehabilitation of the victims of political repressions in Ukraine“ of 17 April 1991.

The mentioned law, to the credit of Ukraine, was the first law on rehabilitation adopted in the former USSR. Yet, it is also one of the reasons of the great number of drawbacks in the law. Some of these drawbacks were taken into consideration by other former republics. Russia, for example, introduced a number of changes to the law to correct the shortcomings; in particular the Russian law determines more precisely the articles and definitions connected with the political motives of condemnation and with the members of families of the repressed. Besides, the Supreme Court of Russia recognized as repressed the minor children of the repressed, who lost wardship of parents as a result of repressions. All this exerted the essential influence on the victims of political repressions in Ukraine.

In spite of fact that the members of „Memorial“, regional branches of the all-Ukrainian union of political prisoners and the repressed, as well as other Ukrainian human rights protecting organizations, more than once turned to the Supreme Rada of Ukraine with the drafts of changes and additions to the Law of 17 April 1991, these drafts have not been considered for more than 10 years. Now the draft of the new version of the Law on rehabilitation is accepted for the consideration, and it is assigned to your Committee. We ask you to expedite the consideration of this draft taking into account the following circumstances.

1. According to Resolution No. 2803-XII of 19 November 1992, citizens of Ukraine, who were repressed outside Ukraine and later rehabilitated, have the right to obtain in Ukraine the privileges envisaged by the Ukrainian Law of 17 April 1991. Yet, this Law does not stipulate the legal status of the rehabilitated for the members of families of the repressed and may not be applied to them. So, the discriminatory situation exists, when some Ukrainian citizens, who were rehabilitated in the accordance to the laws of other CIS countries, have the right for privileges envisaged by the mentioned Resolution (by the way, the commissions in charge of the restoration of rights of the rehabilitated are already receiving the appeals on obtaining the privileges enclosed with the Russian certificates about rehabilitation), and other Ukrainian citizens, members of families of the people, who were repressed in Ukraine, cannot get the legal status of the rehabilitated. We regard this situation as a violation of Articles 24 and 46 of the Constitution of Ukraine.

2. What concerns the very conception of the privileges (the officials frequently debate now on the expediency of such privileges and on the financial burden laid on the state), it is necessary, first of all, to come to the agreement about the definitions. Nobody is surprised by the fact that the MPs of every new composition discuss their own privileges and rise in wages during 2-3 months, and only after this they start the work. The privileges of the citizens, who were repressed and then rehabilitated, must be considered by the state and society as some kind of penitence, as the compensation of moral and material damage inflicted by the state under the silent agreement of the society. In fact, this is stated in the preamble of the Law of 17 April 1991. The same may be said about the Chernobyl liquidators, participants of all wars, everybody, who were defending the society or state at the cost of their health or life. Thus, we reckon that Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers No. 117 of 29 January 2003 „On the unified automatized register of the persons, who have the right for privileges“, which envisages the replacement of the privileges by the address money aid, abuses the principles and conception of rendering privileges to the rehabilitated citizens stipulated by the Law. Indeed, the Law on rehabilitation is not mentioned in the Resolution at all. It is obvious that the state considers the privileges as a kind of charity. This can be said both about the non-indexed addition to pensions (about 9 UAH – a little more than 1.5 USD) and the maximal compensation equal to 112 UAH (approximately 21 USD). Maybe, this is the reason why communal services demand from the citizens having privileges to re-register each year, for which the citizens must present all documents from all agencies. As a rule, these agencies are situated throughout the town, and the diseased and old people must waste many hours in long queues frequently undergoing the rude attitude of the officials. Moreover, the list contained in Article 40 of Law „On state budget of Ukraine for 2003“ of 26 December 2002 No. 380-IV does not mention rehabilitated citizens as a category that has the right for privileges. At that the local authorities believe that the privileges to the rehabilitated have been suspended. For example, see letter from „Kharkovenergosbut“ No. 26-n/e.0561-a of 20 March 2003, which reads: „According to Article 40 of Law „On state budget of Ukraine for 2003“ of 26 December 2002 No. 380-IV, the action of the mentioned privilege is suspended“. It seems that it should be better to oblige the district housing offices to pass annually the lists of the people having privileges to the corresponding agencies. The existing situation may be regarded only as an open humiliation and the repeated repressions.

We appeal to demand from the Cabinet of Ministers to develop the just procedure of rendering privileges. We also ask to stipulate from which sources these expenditures will be paid – from local or state budget. In Kharkov, for instance, the local budget does not assign finances for this for many years relating these expenditures to the internal debt. As a result, the housing committees of the cooperative houses refuse to render the privileges in paying for living accommodation, since they do not get the compensation for it.

3. As to the talks that the state has no money for recompensing the damage, even the superficial examination of the budget-2003 excites surprise. The budget does not envisage the expenses for the privileges and paying compensations to the rehabilitated citizens, which is a brutal violation of the Law on rehabilitation. Some envisaged expenses attract the attention too, mainly by their amount. So, the planned financing of the Presidential Administration is 319266 thousand UAH, which is more than the financing of the Ministry of culture, Ministry of transport and other institutions. At the same time only 5663.1 thousand UAH is assigned for the development of new technologies. Besides, it appears that the Supreme Rada urgently needs a new administrative building, for the construction of which 60 million UAH was allotted from the special budget fund. Yet, on 7 March 2003 the Prime Minister ordered in his Resolution No. 125-p to allot 15 million UAH for the construction from the basis fund. The sums for the upkeep of the sanatorium-resort complexes for the state officials are also astonishing – 125274,9 thousand UAH. The sum planned for rendering medical aid to top state officials and MPs is 45855,9 thousand UAH, whereas the similar sum for the officers of the Ministry of emergency situations is only 428 thousand. At the same time the heated arguments are held now about the erection of a triumphal arch in Kharkov, and it seems that the authorities will find money for this monument.

A state that treats its citizens in such way is immoral and criminal.

It is shameful to read in the preamble to the Law on rehabilitation that the Supreme Rada of Ukraine „guarantees to the Ukrainian people that this will never repeat, that the rights and legality will be obeyed piously“.

The impression appears that the introduction of the Day of the victims of political repressions, meetings of the President with these victims and the paltry money aid to them – all this is only a decor.
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