Alternative views on Ukraine’s human rights record
On 24 October Ukraine is due to present the government’s report for the four-yearly Universal Periodic Review. This will be the second time that Ukraine is reporting with the UN wanting to know about Ukraine’s fulfilment (or otherwise) of the recommendations which it agreed to in 2008. These included passing comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation; strengthening judicial independence; prevention of torture promotion of children’s rights. There were more than 30 recommendations in total with these of a strategic nature regarding fulfilment of obligations under international agreements. The Universal Periodic Review is the largest-scale mechanism for monitoring human rights within the UN system.
It is other members of the UN Human Rights Council who give recommendations. Because of this the UPR as a mechanism is often accused of being politicized, with countries with extremely different political systems handing out recommendations. In 2012 the UK had its prison conditions equated with torture by Russia and Belarus.
The Committee will have the opportunity to consider the rather upbeat report presented by Ukraine’s government with the rather more critical assessments presented by various Ukrainian NGOs.
In May this year there was a breakfast for diplomats where representatives of those NGOs presented their alternative reports and recommendations. A coalition of 40 Ukrainian NGOs provided the UN with 12 shadow reports on different aspects of human rights. The reports highlight, for example, failings in judicial reform which the NGOs are convinced make judges even less independent; selective prosecution of political opponents and other human rights violations.
The reports are all available here: http://helsinki.org.ua/en/index.php?id=1337408317