CHESNO: Office of the Verkhovna Rada flagrantly violating Public Information Act
The Office of the Verkhovna Rada is flouting the Law on Access to Public Information and refusing to provide the civic movement CHESNO with MPs’ income declarations.
Activists from the movement have asked the head of the Department for Ensuring Access to Public Information of the President’s Administration, Denis Ivanescu to help them receive the declarations.
CHESNO says that the Office of the Verkhovna Rada is hiding behind the Personal Data Protection Act by claiming that the information on the declarations is “confidential”. “In conditions where the mechanism of legal regulation is incomplete”, it says, it is refusing to provide the information.
CHESNO states that this is the latest example of flagrant violations by the Office of the Public Information Act and a demonstration of reluctance to engage in dialogue with the public.
Lawyer Dmytro Kotlyar points out that Article 6 of the Public Information Act and Article 5 of the Personal Data Protection Act clearly and unequivocally state that deputies’ declarations are not confidential and access to them may not be restricted. He says the refusal to provide them is absurd since according to the Law on the Principles of Preventing and Countering Corruption, deputies’ declarations must be published in printed publications.
The information requests are being sent as part of a civic audit by CHESNO together with analysts from the Committee of Voters of Ukraine.
They want to ascertain whether deputies and candidates for such posts comply with 6 core democratic values:
- No infringements of human rights and civil liberties;
- Unwavering political position corresponding to the will of the voters;
- No involvement in corrupt activities;
- Transparency of declared income and property and their correspondence to the person’s lifestyle;
- Personal voting in parliament;
- Participation in parliamentary sessions and the work of parliamentary committees.
As reported, the website Ukrainska Pravda has lodged a civil claim against the Office of the Verkhovna Rada over its refusal to divulge which MPs elected in this session have received State-owned flats. The Office of the Verkhovna Rada claimed that this was confidential information which could only be given out with the person’s consent.
In fact, it is clear from legislation on information that the failure to provide full information in this case was unlawful. Legal consultation and representation in that case is being provided by the Media Law Institute.
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