Where is the draft law on peaceful assembly?
The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union has addressed an open appeal to the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada and Head of the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights asking for Draft Law No. 2450 “On the procedure for organizing and holding peaceful gatherings” to be made public.
The appeal states that on 3 June 2009 the Verkhovna Rada adopted in its first reading Draft Law No. 2450 “On the procedure for organizing and holding peaceful gatherings”, tabled by the Cabinet of Ministers.
The draft law was sharply criticized in December 2009 by the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission, human rights organizations and members of the public due to unwarrantedly major restrictions of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
In the middle of May 2010 the Profile Committee on Human Rights, National Minorities and Inter-ethnic Relations decided to submit Draft Law No. 2450 to parliament for its second reading.
Yet to this day, that is, two and a half weeks later, the text of the draft law to be submitted for its second reading has not been make public.
Consideration of this draft law was scheduled for 4 June and then deferred for a week.
We are convinced that consideration of a draft law of such importance to civic society must not take place in secrecy. The draft law was drawn up virtually without involving representatives of civic society, and the final version remains unknown.
We consider that it would be unacceptable to adopt this draft law with vital ramifications for human rights without prior widespread public discussion.
We demand that the text of Draft Law No. 2450 prepared for second reading be made public without delay. This muse be in advance and not on the eve of the vote in parliament.
Bearing in mind previous criticism of the draft law by the Council of Europe and members of civic society, we consider it vital that:
- Draft Law No. 2450, in the form prepared for its second reading, is made public without delay;
- This reworked draft law is sent on behalf of parliament to the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission for their assessment;
- Committee hearings on the Draft Law are held with the participation of experts from the Venice Commission and members of the public.
The letter is signed by Volodymyr Yavorsky, UHHRU Executive Director.