PACE Monitoring Report sees threats to democratic freedoms
On Tuesday 22 June the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe [PACE] expressed concern over observance of democratic freedoms in Ukraine. The Co-Rapporteurs believe that the authorities are using the police to obstruct peaceful acts of protest. The Minister of Internal Affairs Anatoly Mohylyov claims that rights and freedoms in Ukraine are not being violated.
The Monitoring Committee’s report to PACE was based on the results of a PACE Delegation visit to Ukraine on 4-5 June. Its authors – outgoing Co-Rapporteur Renate Wohlwend and Mailis Rels warn that problems are arising with observance of human rights and that the police are being used to prevent peaceful actions of protest and block civic activists during them. Protests are disrupted as a result of police aggression. They note that pressure from the law enforcement agencies is clearly for political motives. They also point to problems with freedom of speech and say that statements by Ukrainian journalists demonstrate growing pressure by the owners of channels on editorial policy which violates citizens’ right to information.
Member of the Ukrainian Delegation, National Deputy Olha Heracymyuk (Our Ukraine – People’s Self-Defence ) agrees with the findings. She says that throughout the world people have the right to protest, but in Ukraine they are trying to take that right away.
The publication Kommersant says that this is referring to the draft law on peaceful assembly and notes that a number of civic organizations have come out against the draft law in its present form. They believe that if it is not properly revised and passed as it stands, it could give unwarranted scope for restricting or prohibiting peaceful assembly. See, for example, the analysis here http://helsinki.org.ua/en/index.php?id=1276248891 On Tuesday, the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, the Respublica Institute, the Foundation for Regional Initiatives and others published proposals which they believe should become the basis for the law on peaceful assembly. They stress that the lack of notification cannot be grounds for banning a meeting and that notification should be needed only in order to properly prepare to protect the meeting. They propose setting clear criteria allowing the court to ban a meeting and imposing criminal liability for officials who violate freedom of assembly.
From a report at http://kommersant.ua/doc.html?docId=1391305