war crimes in Ukraine

The Tribunal for Putin (T4P) global initiative was set up in response to the all-out war launched by Russia against Ukraine in February 2022.

“Prava Ludiny” (human rights) monthly bulletin, 2002, #12

The open letter to President of Ukraine L. Kuchma. The appeal of the Kharkov Group for human rights protection on the parliamentary crisis in Ukraine. The right to a fair trial
Advantages and shortcomings of the court reform Freedom of expression
The conflict between Chernivtsi journalists and the power For the first time in the Crimea a journalist won the trial against town authorities. The authorities continue to persecute the only Crimean Ukrainian-language newspaper Freedom of peaceful assembly
The report on the fulfilment of Article 11 of the European Convention by Ukraine is needed The Severodonetsk executive committee has almost agreed that meetings may be held not only in the assigned places When at last the legislation will be controlled by right? Prohibition of discrimination
What part of the medical services must be free? Public organizations of Odessa protest against the abuse of social and economic rights Penal institutions
“PL” continues the discussion on the problems of human rights protection movement. Self-government
The public hearings "Chernobyl – modern problems" The third school of human rights in Kharkiv If the election in Ukraine were honest, we would live in another country The declaration on the cooperation of non-governmental human rights protecting organizations. Point of view
The contacts of Kuchma with the NATO will not be a secret for public now. News from the CIS countries
The on-line access to the most complete database of public and charity organizations.


The open letter to President of Ukraine L. Kuchma.

Respected President!

We, being representatives of human rights protecting organizations, got the invitations to meet you on 10 December, on the International Day of human rights. We are grateful to you for the invitation, and we appreciate the fact that the state organs of Ukraine remember that on 10 December 1948 the Universal Declaration of human rights was adopted. Yet, we think that it would be advisable to reject your invitation. We believe that the reasons of our refusal may be interesting for the Ukrainian public and international community.

Evaluating your activities on your post of the President of Ukraine, the activities of your administration and the organs of the executive power, we reckon that there is no proper climate in the country for the normal dialog between the organizations of the civil society and the power. The organs of the state power in Ukraine try to rise above the society ignoring the interests of citizens, their rights, freedoms and will. This attitude was well illustrated by the referendum "after the people’s initiative" that was actually initiated by you, brutal meddling of the state organs into the election process during the parliamentary election, pressure upon the representatives of the opposition, political censorship applied to the mass media, etc. As a result, the political strain in the Ukrainian society increases, and Ukraine becomes more and more isolated from the integration processes occurring in Europe.

We think that your approach to the public institutions is not correct: on the Day of invalids you meet invalids, on the Victory Day – the WW2 veterans, on the Women’s Day – women and on the Day of human rights – human rights protectors. We are sure that such meetings are unable to solve any problems, they have no features of a dialog, they are merely used by the authorities for improving their own image. We cannot accept such role and such form of relations.

The Kharkiv Group for human rights protection
The Kherson oblast fund of charity and health
The Sevastopol human rights protection group
The International Society of human rights – Ukrainian section
The Lugansk public organization for protecting the constitutional rights of citizens


The appeal of the Kharkov Group for human rights protection on the parliamentary crisis in Ukraine.

The recent events in the Supreme Rada of Ukraine essentially abuse the constitutional rights and freedoms of Ukrainian citizens. This fact impels the Kharkiv group for human rights protection (the KhPG in what follows) to publish the appeal.

The political activities of the state, its organs and officers in the countries of constitutional democracy must be consistent and grounded on the distinctly determined competencies and concrete formal procedures. Every state organ or state officer must act "only on the basis and in the framework of his authorities and by means stipulated by the Constitution and laws of Ukraine" (part 2 Article 19 of the Constitution of Ukraine). And the higher is the state organ or post, the stricter must be the limitations of the activities and more exact the political procedures must be determined by special norms. The KhPG is forced to declare that the state organs and officers of Ukraine brutally violate these legal principles, which resulted in the parliamentary crisis and may lead to other, even more dangerous for the country, consequences.

Ignoring the will of the voters, using force structures for realizing such specific for Ukraine "political technologies" as blackmail and threats, President’s administration and the pro-President fractions in the Supreme Rada created the so-called parliamentary majority, which, under the pretext of taking on themselves the political responsibility, illegally re-elected the head of the National Bank and took away from the opposition (which, by the way, represents the majority of the voters) the top posts in the parliamentary committees. These actions are illegal, since they violate the Ukrainian Constitution. In what follows we will explain which violations were committed.

The term "permanently working parliamentary majority" is still obscure. The parliamentary majority may not be created artificially. It may appear only as a result of election. Any arrangements, voluntary obligations or agreements about joining the majority may not entail any juridical consequences. The Constitution stipulates three ways of creating the parliamentary majority: a) simple (226 MPs – Articles 91, 84, 87, part 2 Article 111 of the Constitution); b) two types of qualified– 2/3 (Articles 20, 155, 156) and 3/4 (part 5 Article 111) of the Constitutional composition of the Parliament. So, the parliamentary majority, according to the operating constitutional model, may be only situational. The very idea of creating the "permanently working parliamentary majority" contradicts part 2 Article 80 of the Ukrainian Constitution, which guarantees to every MP the freedom of expression and the freedom to vote according to his views. The creation of such majority restricts the constitutional status of people’s deputies. If a deputy votes following the recommendations of the majority, this is a violation of the democratic norms, since the principles of liberal democracy provided by a number of modern international legal and political documents insist not so much on the rights of the political majority as on the guarantees of the rights of the political minority. That is why it is unacceptable to acknowledge that the voting of 17 December by the so-called parliamentary majority with the personal bulletins was legitimate.

Hence, the creation of the parliamentary majority in such a manner and the work of this majority are the brutal infringements of the universally recognized international standards of parliamentary democracy. The violence used by one part of the Parliament against another part threatens the country with slipping down to the authoritarianism. The KhPG cautions the power structures against the use of the force methods not sanctioned by law and reminds that the regime, which abuses human rights and freedoms, is doomed to defeat. There are some chances yet to avoid the political discredit of the power, but for this the state structures must stop the aggression against the political freedoms in Ukraine.

The right to a fair trial

Advantages and shortcomings of the court reform

More than a year has passed since the substantial changes were introduced into the Civil-Procedural Code. Approving these changes our legislators intended to protect rights and interests of citizens, as well as to bring our domestic laws in the concordance with international (European, first of all) norms. Did they succeed?

There are many different ways to estimate changes. The supporters of the changes point out the rationality and, especially, the guarantees of the immutability of the taken decision. At the same time, more and more opinions are published, where specialists assess the innovations critically and put the question: who needs such reform and does it guarantees the consolidation of legality?

Thereupon one must pay the attention to the fact that all branches of the power have lately acknowledged the role of the "telephone right", the dependence of courts on the state organs or individual state officials, as well as the existence of the corruption. The most dependent are the judges of local courts, since they consider the majority of the claims and complaints, and the further lot of the vexed question depends on the position of the court and the court verdict. Unfortunately, this is not uncommon when such courts not only issue the illegal verdicts, but also hamper the consideration of appeals. There were cases, where judges took the decision on rejecting the appeals under unconvincing pretexts or demanded to pay the enormous tax, which the complainer was unable to pay (by the way, the Decree does not envisage any tax payments for the consideration of an appeal).

The extreme overload and absence of the needed qualification of the court stuff, as well as their negligent attitude to the work result in the illegal and ungrounded decisions.

The right for the challenge of the court composition (chapter 2 of the Civil-Procedural Code (CPC)) is an important guarantee of legality of a trial. It happens frequently that during a trial the judge expresses his own opinion on the future decision, evaluates facts and events, rejects the petitions groundlessly, or even corrects the answers of witnesses or sides before writing down the evidence to the protocol. I think that it is incorrect to give judges the right to decide personally the question about the challenge (Article 22 of the CPC). It is obvious that if somebody ordered to the judge to take such and such decision, or he has some other interest in this case, then the question whether the challenge would be accepted seems to be rather rhetorical. At the same time the operating norm is very convenient to the persons, who can influence the court. So, was it expedient to introduce any changes? I believe that the most just, although not ideal, was the norm, when the challenge was considered by the court head. The head, being the most experienced and responsible person, must be the least dependent on the "telephone right", so his decision must be most unbiased and wise. I think that the legislators must revise this norm and, maybe, return to this one that was operable till July 2002. Besides, in any case the CPC must be supplemented with the article giving the plaintiff the right to appeal against the rejection of the challenge. Now the CPC does not permit this. If the plaintiff is not satisfied with the decision, he has the right to hand the appeal to the appeal court. Here another question may be put: "Whether an appeal court is a guarantor of legality?"

The published decisions, resolutions and comments to them evidence that one may not be sure as to this. There happen the distortions of facts and sense of documents, the proofs are ignored. Such state can be explained with the great number of complaints, overload, absence of proper material base. That is why judges cannot familiarize with the cases thoroughly, to conduct the needed analysis, to listen to the sides attentively during the trial. All this is doubtless. The state must create the conditions for judges, as it did for the tax administration. However, even now the citizens must be sure that their claims will entail the legal and unbiased decisions.

Let us consider a concrete example. Citizen N. and her daughter turned to court with the claim. They demanded to collect from their house managing office the cost of medical treatment and to oblige the office to pay for the stay in sanatorium. The court satisfied the claim in the part of recompensing the expenses for medical drugs, but refused in the part of paying for the sanatorium motivating the decision by the fact that the complainers allegedly intended to grab these money for themselves. The claimants appealed against this part of the decision, since both in their claim and during the trial they asked to transfer this sum to the account of the trade union that could render them the place in the sanatorium. The obviousness of the violation committed by the court gave the grounds for satisfying the appeal.

The appeal court left the decision without changes. The motive was the following: the claimants did not produce the certificate of medical commission about the necessity of the sanatorium treatment! This motive was untrue, since a xerox copy of the certificate was appended to the claim, and the original certificate was presented during the trial. Thus, the appeal court did not eliminate the offences committed by the local court, and what is more, it even complicated the position of the plaintiffs.

Will the Supreme Court correct the error? There is almost no hope. As the statistics shows, only about 5% of the complaints are considered per se. The rest, 95%, are turned without any consideration. According to part 5 Article 329 of the CPC, a court resolution cannot be appealed. Many various opinions are expressed as to the unconstitutionality of the preliminary consideration of cases, but no decisions have been adopted, thus violating the rights of thousands to the interested persons.

Even if a case is directed to the Supreme Court, the probability that the illegal decision would be canceled is negligible. It happens because, according to Article 336 of the CPC, the change or cancellation of a decision may be caused only by the violations of the procedural norms, which happens noticeably rarely than the violations of the norms of material rights, like in the described concrete case. The demands of Article 340 of the CPC do not take into account the numerous abuses of laws.

The above statement may be confirmed by another example. A citizen turned to court asking to oblige the department in charge of subsidies to give him a subsidy for the reduced communal pays. At the trial a representative of the subsidy department substantiated the refusal by the fact that the claimant has not paid for the communal services. The claimant presented to court the agreement concluded with the gas supplier about the gradual acquittance of the debt and the reference confirming that the pension was given to him with the arrears of 6-8 months, so he could not pay for the services. According to the operating laws, the arguments presented are sufficient for rendering the subsidy and are directly defined by the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers as the conditions, when the subsidy is prolonged without fail.

The court concurred with the fact of the pension pay arrears, but ignored the agreement about the gradual acquittance of the debt and refused to satisfy the claim. The jury that considered the case did not correct the violation of the legal norm, they even stated that the pension was paid IN TIME (for some reasons they referred to the page, to which the reference about the arrears was added). The Supreme Court drew the conclusion that there were no violations of the material and procedural right. Thus, the citizen was deprived of the opportunity to use his right for getting subsidy, and the court did not protect his rights. Besides, the man had to pay the court expenses and suffered morally from the refusal to satisfy his claim!

I believe that the right to submit protests to court was revoked without the proper analysis and the consideration of all actual circumstances and problems. The experience confirms that this practice was a rather effective method of liquidating errors, reversing illegal decisions and resolutions.

It would be advisable to permit the submittal of the protests both to the appeal and to the Supreme courts. I am sure: this scheme meets the modern conditions and creates the opportunity for the protection of rights and consolidation of lawfulness.

Freedom of expression

The conflict between Chernivtsi journalists and the power

The acute conflict between the regional mass media and the head of the Chernivtsi oblast administration reached the culmination. The representatives of the oblast and town mass media had no other way out, but to turn to the President of Ukraine, heads of force structures and ombudsperson Nina Karpacheva.

The journalists insist that the open pressure is exerted upon the journalists and editors of the oblast mass media, that, by the order of the oblast administration, the obedient mass media print the brutal and deceitful materials about those, who does not agree with the policy of governor. The journalists inform the central state power: "As early as in September 2002 editor of the newspaper "Chas" Petro Kobevko was attacked and beaten. The editor was the defendant in a trial held by the claim of governor Teofil Bauer. The attackers have not been found until now, and the public is not informed on the investigation progress.

The direct causes for turning to the President and other top state authorities were the statement of governor Bauer at the press conference on 6 December and the statement of Dmytro Myroniuk, the head of the PR-department of the Chernivtsi oblast administration. These statements contained the undisguised threats against the opposition mass media and journalists. It is a shame that there are such officials in our state organs, who permit themselves the pronouncements of the type: "… the newspapers that regard themselves as opposition, must be closed" (Mr. Myroniuk) or "For this they must be beaten on the head. First, those, who tell, and secondly those, who publish…" (Mr. Bauer). In such a way our country may quickly reach the level even not of Belarus, but of Iraq or former Serbia. Now, after the appeal to the top authorities, they will not be able to pretend that they know nothing about the gerrymanders of the Chernivtsi governor.

It is known that fish rots from the head. The power, which violates laws or allows its officers to do this, becomes illegitimate. At any moment such power may wait some illegal actions on the side of citizens, since namely the power was the first, who abused the social agreement, which is the Constitution.

The messages from the various regions of Ukraine make us to draw the conclusion that the strain in the society grows rapidly. It is strange that the power disregards this situation!

However, we hope that the President and other representatives of central power will react at the Chernivtsi journalists’ appeal without delay. The facts presented by the journalists undermine the authority of the entire executive power. And if the power is interested in this authority, then the actions of such "keen" officials as Teofil Bauer must be punished quickly and adequately.

For the first time in the Crimea a journalist won the trial against town authorities.

Ragim Gumbatov, the editor of the newspaper "Alubika", won the trial against the mayor of Alupka, a small Crimean town. The journalist’s claim concerned his constitutional right for information. The court obliged Alupka mayor Valeriy Andik to accredit the journalist to the town council and to render the journalist all information he needed for his work. In spite of everything, the mayor does not hurry to fulfil the court verdict: Gumbatov is still not admitted to the town council, – the Institute of mass information informs. The conflict between the town authorities and the newspaper "Alubika" lasts already for more than two years. Ragim Gumbatov reckons that the conflict was provoked by the critical materials about the town officials published by the newspaper. It was "Alubika" that told its readers the story how a bus presented to the town was privatized by an individual. The newspaper published the staff list of the town executive committee, which was widened twice for unknown reasons. Yet, the most sensational were the articles about the squander of the precious land of the South Crimea under the condition of the permanent budget deficit. After this, the editor told, many problems fell on the newspaper.

Last year the conflict became apparent, when Valeriy Andik, then a deputy head of the town council, drove Gumbatov away from the sitting of the land commission, attacked the journalist, snatched the dictaphone from his hands and threw it to the wastepaper basket saying: "You elucidate our work lousy in your foul newspaper!" The town power regards Gumbatov’s criticism as ungrounded.

In order to protect themselves from the "unjust" criticism the town authorities hastily introduced the accreditation. Ragim Gumbatov was the only journalist, who was refused in the accreditation under the pretext that he had allegedly handed the wrong documents. Gumbatov turned to court.

In spite of the taken court decision, Gumbatov says that his victory was somewhat illusive, since he did not obtain the accreditation all the same. And the town authorities still ignore his informational request.

27 December 2002


The authorities continue to persecute the only Crimean Ukrainian-language newspaper

The bureaucrats of all levels continue to harass the collective and readers of the newspaper "Krymska svitlytsia", the only Ukrainian-language newspaper in the autonomous republic. For the umpteenth time the officials try to throw away from the office the editorial board of the newspaper.

Only three months ago the collective of "Krymska svitlytsia" celebrated their removal to the new office: by order of President Leonid Kuchma they got several rooms in the Simferopol base "Artek". At their own expense the newspaper staff managed to make some repair, the Media-fund at the USA Embassy in Ukraine helped them to purchase several telephone numbers and to organize their site in the Internet. Now the site of "Krymska svitlytsia" is the best and most popular web-site in the Crimea.

For the first time after 10 years of the existence, owing to the efforts of journalists, authorities, Ukrainian and foreign public, the newspaper "Krymska svitlytsia" got the normal conditions for work. This affected both the quality of the newspaper and the number of the subscribers: the both indices essentially increased. Viktor Kachula, the editor-in-chief of "Krymska svitlytsia", says that the journalists are surprised by the position of the presidential administration managing the base "Artek". Half a year ago the Ukrainian President ordered to the central and Crimean authorities to create the proper conditions for the work of the newspaper "Krymska svitlytsia" – the newspaper that cannot be called either pro-power or opposition, the high-quality and objective newspaper. So, the today’s situation is caused either by the stupidity of bureaucrats or by the revenge for the honest position of the newspaper. Journalists of the only Crimean Ukrainian-language newspaper sending letters to top state authorities again and again asking for protection and help. They still believe that the power in Ukraine is Ukrainian at least for a bit.

10 December

Freedom of peaceful assembly

The report on the fulfilment of Article 11 of the European Convention by Ukraine is needed

I want to talk over the ideas, which were not discussed at the seminar "The European standards on the freedom of peaceful assembles and associations and improvement of Ukrainian laws", and which, maybe, are not endorsed by a part of the readers. Yet, I believe that these ideas are rather important.

The first thesis: the situation with human rights in Ukraine is deteriorating. Unfortunately, the vector of the political development chosen by the authorities points namely to this direction. Let us return to the right for the freedom of assemblies. From 1996, when the operating Ukrainian Constitution was adopted, to 2000 we observed only one case, where a person was drawn to the responsibility according to Article 185 (1) of the Administrative Code. Then we achieved the cancellation of this verdict of the town court without any difficulties. Nowadays the cases concerning the prohibition to conduct meetings or the responsibility of the organisers make a quarter of the total number of the cases, with which the Severodonetsk public reception office of the voter’s committee deals. As to the recent months, a wave of the prohibitions of mass political actions swept over Ukraine.

I want to point out that the Ukrainian legislation guaranteeing the citizens’ right for assemblies significantly improved during the last years: the European Convention was ratified, the Constitutional Court issued the decision on the interpretation of Article 39 of the Ukrainian Constitution. At the same time the real situation with the right for assemblies deteriorated. It happened because the improvement of legislation and legal regulations is not sufficient for guaranteeing the citizens’ rights. Some additional measures are needed.

The second thesis: one must not hope that if the present opposition comes to power, the problem of the superiority of citizens’ rights will be solved. At the seminar Mr. Zakharov imparted such fact: the opposition, whose actions were prohibited massively this autumn, never turned to court. So, it seems that they, as well as the existing power, advocate the values different from the superiority of law.

Here is another example. The power of Severodonetsk has the reputation of a democratic one, the Rukhs and PRP render it the maximal aid. Yet, according to the results of our monitoring, it is Severodonetsk, where the level of violating fundamental human rights is the highest in the Lugansk oblast.

Thus, the solution of the problems of human rights protection is the task of human rights protecting organisations not involved in politics.

The third thesis: it is impossible to solve the problem through a court. This month the executive committee of the Severodonetsk town council took the decision to prohibit the meetings everywhere in the town except three places assigned by the executive committee. I estimate this decision as a violation of Article 11 of the European Convention and as an attempt to impede the realisation of the right for holding meetings. Being a conscious citizen, I turned to court with the claim against this decision. But all of us may predict what would be further. The court of the first instance would consider the case for about 18 months, then the case would be considered by the appeal court for another 6 months. Then I would wait for the decision of the European Court – at least two years. So, the decision of the executive committee abusing citizens’ rights would be operable for not less than four years.

Such claims are very important, but they are not sufficient in the modern situation in Ukraine.

I have a proposition: let us compile the report on the fulfilment of Article 11 of the European Convention by Ukraine, publish it and pass it to the Council of Europe. We, the human rights protecting organisations, must join our efforts, and then we will be able to do this.

What concerns the freedom of associations, we mainly discussed the problems of their registration. But these problems are not the most important in NGO activities. When an NGO is registered, the authorities do not know yet what position it will adhere, so they have no motives to hinder the registration. The main problems appear when an NGO is working yet, and this work is disliked by the power. And then the authorities begin to impede the work of the organisation. One of the methods is to discredit the NGO in mass media obedient to the power. Pay the attention to the absurdity of this method: the mass media maintained at the expense of taxpayers are fighting against the elements of civil society.

The meddling of the USS into NGO activities is also inadmissible. This year our organisation had the great experience of such contacts.

I think that such cases must be also included into the report on Article 11.

The Severodonetsk executive committee has almost agreed that meetings may be held not only in the assigned places

Yesterday, after the beginning of court consideration of the complaint against the resolution "On assigning the places for conducting meetings, rallies and other actions", the executive committee changed the text of the resolution replacing the word "assign" for the word "recommend" concerning the three places permitted for conducting the mass actions. Severodonetsk, as the "most democratic" town of the Lugansk oblast, was included into the list of the eight Ukrainian towns, where the local power decided to "regulate" the political actions. On 5 November the town executive committee adopted resolution No. 1836 "On assigning the places for holding meetings, rallies and other actions", which read: "To prevent the coincidence of the meetings, rallies and other actions held by public organisations and political parties with the all-town actions planned in the same places (what happened more than once), with the aim to fulfil item 3 section "a" of Article 38 of the Ukrainian Law "On local self-rule in Ukraine", the executive committee of the town council DECIDED: To regard as inexpedient the conduction of the meetings, rallies and other actions by public organisations and political parties in the town squares, near administrative buildings, shopping centres and main transport lines because of the difficulties in guaranteeing the public order in the places of great assemblies of people and transport. To assign the following places for holding the meetings, rallies and other actions by public organisations and political parties in the town of Severodonetsk: the area in front of the Ice Sports Palace; the area in front of the stadium "Khimik"; the tennis-courts of the town sport school".

On 14 November a complaint against this resolution was handed to the Severodonetsk town court. The complaint referred to Article 11 of the European Convention for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms and to Article 39 of the Constitution of Ukraine. The Constitution of Ukraine reads that only court may restrict the right for assemblies. The complaint demanded to cancel resolution No. 1836 as void and violating human rights. The complaint was compiled by A. Svetikov, the head of the Lugansk oblast branch of the voters’ committee of Ukraine. On 3 December 2002 an additional complaint was handed to the court about the violation of procedural terms; the complaint demanded to begin the case consideration without delay. On 16 December the judge organised the preparatory meeting with the parties of the trial, after which, on 17 December, the executive committee introduced the changes to item 2 of the resolution replacing the word "assign" for the word "recommend" concerning the three places permitted for holding the mass actions. This gives the organisers of the actions the grounds to ignore the resolution. In our opinion, the resolution contradicts the Constitution even now, so our committee intends to continue the court proceedings demanding to abolish the resolution. The next court sitting is planned to be held on 25 December.

When at last the legislation will be controlled by right?

Each autumn the Kharkiv Group for human rights protection (KhPG), the Directorate of human rights of the Council of Europe and the Information office of the Council of Europe hold the seminars on "hot topics" in Kyiv. The seminar "The European standards on the freedom of peaceful assemblies and the freedom of associations in Ukraine and the improvement of the Ukrainian laws" that took place on 28-29 November was also organised in the framework of this tradition. The seminar was supported by the Council of Europe, the international "Renaissance" Foundation and the National Endowment for Democracy (USA). The financial aid granted to the seminar by several sponsors allowed to prepare and publish the book "The freedom of peaceful assemblies and the freedom of associations in Ukraine" in Ukrainian and English. This book presents the review of the reports concerning the violations of these fundamental freedoms in Ukraine, of the Ukrainian laws on the freedom of assemblies and the freedom of associations, of the corresponding court and administrative practices. The "Fundamental principles of the status of NGOs in Europe" adopted by the Council of Europe on 6 July 2002 and the explanatory memorandum to these principles were translated for the Ukrainian-language edition. To the English edition the KhPG included the translations of the law drafts compiled by the group concerning the public control over state activities, which now seem to be extremely important. In addition, the opportunity appeared to invite 60 participants from other regions of Ukraine. Altogether, 134 persons took part in the seminar, among them 87 representatives of the non-profit NGOs, 20 state officers (5 persons from the Supreme Rada of Ukraine, 5 – from the Ministry of Justice, 4 – from the Ministry of Interior, 3 judges; the USS, Constitutional Court and the ombudsperson’s office were represented by one person each), 14 journalists, 8 teachers of law schools and 5 advocates. All in all, 46 lawyers were present on the seminar.

The city trade unions hall situated on the main street of Kyiv, Khreshchatik, was overcrowded. With great interest the public listened to the brilliant lectures of Jeremy McBride, an expert of the Council of Europe, a professor of the Birmingham University. He delivered the lectures on Article 11 of the Convention on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, which protects the freedom of assemblies and associations, and on the fundamental principles of the status of NGOs in Europe, the author of which is professor McBride himself. The elucidation of the European standards in this sphere demonstrated the pessimistic picture of the Ukrainian reality: the corpus of the Ukrainian laws regulating the peaceful assemblies still consists mainly of the normative acts of the Soviet times, which have the pronounced permissive character thus contradicting the Ukrainian Constitution. Yet, the authorities follow these obsolete legal acts. As a result, we have the unjust administrative and court decisions, when political actions are prohibited because of the absence of public conveniences, since, they say, this would lead to the deterioration of the epidemiological situation and active reproduction of rodents, because of the care of the health of the demonstrators, whose immunity would abruptly worsen owing to the cold season, because of the violation of the right for rest of those, who would walk around during the demonstration, etc. It seems that the obsolete laws are anxiously preserved to prevent the opposition to have the legal grounds for their political actions.

At the same time, there were many cases, where people were forced to take part in the actions of power-loyal political forces, such as the meetings in the support of the Constitution or the visits of various VIP. When schoolchildren in Kharkiv were driven to the frost with Russian flags to greet Russian President Putin and spent 4 hours outdoors, nobody recollected about their immunity…

The situation with regulating the freedom of associations is not better. Although 10 years ago the law "On citizens’ unions" was adopted, it is also obsolete now and needs the essential changes. Oleksandr Vinnikov, a well-known specialist in the sphere of non-commercial right, told in his lecture that 15 articles of this law (out of 34) contain the violations of the European Convention.

The main problem is that an organisation may be registered, according to this law, only if it plans to protect the rights and interests of its members. The organisations protecting public interests, in particular all human rights protecting NGOs, are formally illegal in Ukraine. The participants of the seminar recalled the numerous cases, where the officials refused to register NGOs, the examples of court appeals against such refusals were presented, as well as the information that one Kyivan organisation even handed a complaint about the violation of Article 11 of the European Convention to the European Court of human rights.

The seminar confirmed that there are many people both in state agencies and in public organisations, who understand well the imperfection of the operating laws and the fallaciousness of the existing practices. This allows one to hope for positive changes. But we know from our own bitter experience that the enormous joint efforts are needed to achieve these changes. So, let us go…

Prohibition of discrimination

What part of the medical services must be free?

As it is known, several months ago the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine approved the resolution on the creation of the list of the guaranteed free medical services rendered in state and communal medical establishments. However, in the Poltava oblast the patients do not know until now which services are free and which must be paid.

When Nadiya Miakushko, a deputy head of the Poltava oblast organisation of the People’s Rukh, tried to explain this situation at one of the sittings in presence of the top officials of the oblast administration, Villiy Volchenko, the head of the oblast health protection directorate, told indefinably: "We are working on this problem".

And at this time we, patients, pay for analyses and for examinations, not to mention the veiled payments for operations and the medical drugs bought for our own money. Various funds acting at medical establishments force the patients to pay the charitable contributions without burdening themselves with giving accounts to the sponsors. A patient obtains some document, but it is not clear from this document when and by whom the money was paid, who received the money, and where this money will get – to the till or to somebody’s pocket. Although the Poltava public raised this question more than once, the competent organs did not show any interest in this topic.

I believe, – N. Miakushko said, – that the protracted disregard of the resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers on the side of the oblast health directorate and the retardation of creating the list of free medical services is caused namely by the "opaque" activities of the so-called charity funds. Such cynical form of charity discredits the status and the role of a doctor, since such doctor not only violates the Hippocratic oath, he also abuses laws forcing a patient to contribute money to these funds. A doctor must treat, and all other problems must be solved by those, who organize the public life in Ukraine, including the sphere of health protection.

To illustrate her words Ms. Miakushko gave the following example. A woman-worker of the Kremenchug furniture plant needed the urgent and expensive operation for replacing the mitral valve in the Kyiv Amosov institute. The trade union gathered 5000 UAH for the operation, since the woman had not such sum. And what if she was jobless? So, it seems that until the list of free medical services would be worked out, some people would be doomed to die in the prime of life!

Public organizations of Odessa protest against the abuse of social and economic rights

Odessa public organisations continue to protest against the rise of the payments for communal services, fare in the route taxis and against the sale of the land plots at the seaside of Odessa to some officials for private building.

On 17 December 2002 the public organisations "Braterstvo", "Narodny kontrol" and "Ukrainske bratstvo", together with the local branches of the opposition party "Batkivshchina" and Communist party, picketed the session of the city council to prevent the adoption of the corresponding decisions. In spite of the public protests, the decision on rising the tariffs was approved by the deputies of the city council. The payments for communal services were doubled. On 20 December Odessa dwellers are going to resume the protest actions.

Eduard Gurvits, the ex-mayor of Odessa, an MP and a member of the fraction "Our Ukraine", commented the results of the session: "The decision of the session of the Odessa city council has neither economic nor juridical grounds".

In his interview to radio "Liberty" Mr. Gurvits declared that in such a way the power switches on the regime of self-destruction. It cannot function any more without issuing the decisions, which are unfavorable for citizens and are impossible to fulfil. The life of Odessa inhabitants becomes more and more difficult. Together with the rise in prices one can recollect the increasing in crime, darkness in streets, absence of heat in winter. Many traffic lights are broken, what made the road accidents more frequent. Odessa dwellers and Gurvits blame the city council and Odessa mayor Ruslan Bodelian for all their troubles.

Unfortunately, Odessa is not the only region of Ukraine, where the social strain has grown recently.

Penal institutions

“PL” continues the discussion on the problems of human rights protection movement.

Evhen Zakharov, the Kharkiv Group for human rights protection

I want to express my opinion about the subject from which, I think, this discussion had to be begun.

Before speaking about the human rights protecting organizations, it would be reasonable to define the terms we use: what are human rights, from whom are they protected, who violates the rights.

There exists no consistent conception of human rights. This conception could be created if to accept only the liberal interpretation of human rights, that considers only the so-called rights of first generation – civil (or personal) and political. The civil rights include the right for life, the right for protection from slavery, from torture, from arbitrary arrest, detention or exile, the right for the equality in the face of the law, for justice, for privacy, for the freedom of movement, the right for refuge, the freedom of conscience and religion and the freedom of expression. The political rights include the freedom of peaceful assemlies and associations, the right for participation in government, the right to elect and be elected. These rights were formulated by John Locke, went through the bourgeois revolutions, got to the Declaration of human and citizens’ rights and to the American Bill on human rights and were included to the Universal Declaration of human rights and the International Covenant on civil and political rights almost without changes. John Locke defined these rights as natural, that is owned by all people from the very birth simply because they are people.

It should be noted that the matter concerns the rights of an individual, not of a collective, and that the state is regarded as the only violator of the rights. The conception of human rights is grounded on the three theses: 1. Any state power must be restricted; 2. Every person has own sphere of freedom on which the state may not encroach; 3. If the state violates this sphere of freedom, the person must have the opportunity to claim to court that must oblige the state to stop the violation and to recompense the damage inflicted to the claimant. Thus, human rights are the zones of freedom that must not be regulated by the state (the definition by F. Hayek). From this point of view it is more convenient to use the concept of negative rights, that is the prohibition to the state to violate the zones of freedom. As to human rights protecting organizations, their mission can be determined exactly – to guard these freedom zones from the expansion of the state and to protect people from the organized violence committed by the state. Besides, if the natural rights get the juridical status, i.e. are stipulated by laws, then the opportunity appears to protect these rights using the legal procedures. For example, the guarantees of human rights contained in the Constitution allow to realize the juridical protection of human rights in the Constitutional Court or a usual court, depending on the structure of the constitutional system. In the Ukrainian Constitution these rights are guaranteed by Articles 21-41.

The defined conception of human rights stops to be correct if to widen the notion of human rights adding the so-called rights of the second generation that appeared in the Universal declaration of human rights under the pressure of the Soviet Union and its satellites: social, economic and cultural rights. These rights include the right for social aid, for job, for equal remuneration for identical works, for rest and leisure, for adequate living standard, for education, for participation in the cultural life of the society, etc. These rights are stipulated by Articles 42-54 of the Ukrainian Constitution. The character of these rights is quite different. They are called positive since they impose on the state the positive duty to guarantee these rights. The supporters of the liberal conception of human rights assert that these rights cannot be called human rights at all – they are not universal, not common, not unalienable and, what is the main, they must be realized by the state and not by an individual. However, the state can guarantee the realization of these rights only if it obtains money from those, who earn the money, and then to redistribute these funds rightly. We observed no positive examples of such practice in the so-called countries of people’s democracy, on the contrary, we saw the opposite results.

So, the liberal conception of human rights seems more reasonable, and the activities of human rights protecting organizations must be based on it.

This does not mean that human rights protecting organizations must ignore the rights of the second generation, as far as they are fixed in our Constitution (although, in my opinion, it was a mistake and the Constitution must be changed, and the guarantees of these rights must be reformulated like in the Constitution of Poland, where such rights are guaranteed not to all citizens, but only to the social weakest ones), the International Declaration on social, economic and cultural rights (Ukraine is one of its participants) and the European social charter (Ukraine is preparing to join this charter). Yet, it is be possible to speak about the realization of these rights only if the declarative norms of the above-listed documents are supported by the normative acts, which, for example, confirm that there is normal living standard in the country. Otherwise it is incomprehensible what are the violations of these rights, these violations cannot be appealed in court, and it is impossible to fulfil Article 8 of the Ukrainian Constitution, which declares that the constitutional rights are the rights of direct action. So, in our conditions such rights are merely declarative and cannot be realized by the state. However, human rights protecting organizations have a lot of opportunities for the support of the minimal norms that can be acknowledged and guaranteed by the state, as well as for the protection from discrimination in realizing these rights, for the struggle with the violation of laws that realize these rights for a certain degree (pensions, aid to the handicapped, to the families with many children, etc.).

We must recognize that the adherents of the widening of the notion of human rights have the strong arguments. Since job is inseparable from life, the right for life and the right for job are mutually related; if the state promises to guarantee the right for job on at least the minimal level, and the individual is weak and cannot struggle for his rights, he is thrown out from the normal life. So, how it is possible to speak about the social state? Besides, there is the well-known thesis about the indivisibility of human rights. All rights of an individual that reflect the different sides of the person may not be divided, and the individual needs the entire complex of the rights. If the individual has no opportunity to work and earn money, he does not need the fundamental freedoms. Moreover, the thesis is denied that the positive rights, in contrast to the negative ones, are not connected with the prosperity level of a country: they say that many rights of the first generation, such as the right for justice or the right for the equality in the face of the law, cannot be protected in a poor country. By the way, why the rights of the first generation are called negative? For example the right for justice – is it negative? This right means the positive duty of the state to guarantee the equal access to justice and the existence of just and unbiased court. The prohibition of torture means the positive duty of the state to conduct a fast, unprejudiced and effective investigation of the complaints about torture. The prohibition to the state to violate human rights groundlessly means the positive duty of the state to protect these rights in case of a violation, that is one organ of state power must correct the errors of another state organ, which abused the rights. These arguments may not be neglected.

In the second half of the 20thcentury the conception appeared of the rights of the third generation, the rights of peoples. The right of peoples for self-determination was even included to the UNO treaties of 1966, although it should be mentioned that this right is not procedurally provided in the international right and is very dangerous from the practical viewpoint. An attempt was made to create the third treaty, which would codify these rights: for self-determination, for development, for the pure environment, etc., but it failed. However, some of these rights were included to the African Charter of human and peoples’ rights of 1981. These rights are even farther from the juridical fixing than the right of the second generation. There exists the enormous number of the theoretical questions.

Yet, it does not mean that the collective rights must be ignored. It would be correct to recognize that human rights protection is the work directed to the minimization of the organized violence committed by the state, the measures for protecting some oppressed groups.

Finally, I want to point out that all discussions about human rights, all legal constructions are senseless, if they do not promote the protection of freedoms, life, honor and dignity of people.

Natalya Dulneva, the Ukrainian Association "Amnesty International", Lviv

First of all, I want to explain the reasons of my interference in this discussion. The problems of forming the associations or other unions of human rights protecting organizations are extremely interesting, but, as a rule, our activities and our strategic plans are not connected with these problems. Nevertheless, lately we have begun to create some unions and coalitions or to join some of them for solving certain practical questions, such as struggling against torture or creating the International Criminal Court. The idea of forming the union of people "fighting on the front line", the human rights protectors, interests us more and more. Yet, we reckon that the realization of this idea requires many compromises and very delicate approach, to allow every organization to express its opinion and to influence the decisions, preserving at the same time its own specificity. Only then our human rights protection movement would become stronger and more dynamic, it would be able to develop and implement the strategy of human rights of the 21stcentury.

However, I want to appear in this discussion on the topic that excites me much more than the unions of human rights protecting organizations. During this discussion another topic appeared spontaneously: the conceptual grounds of human rights and the definition of human rights given by Evhen Zakharov. Here I want to express another opinion, since the viewpoint presented by Mr. Zakharov is unacceptable for Amnesty International. I want to stress that it is not my own opinion and not the conception of the Ukrainian Association of Amnesty International, but it is the aggregate of the fundamental values that rule the entire Amnesty International movement. It is a very important question for us.

Now let us consider the problem step by step.

We regard the concept of human dignity as the main principle of human rights. That is why we believe that all three categories of human rights stated in the Universal Declaration of human rights and other international legal documents are equally important. We cannot accept the liberal conception of human rights based on the hierarchy of the rights. From our point of view, the rights of the first generation, or civil and political rights oriented on the freedom of an individual, the rights of the second generation, or social and economic rights oriented on the safety of an individual, and the rights of the third generation, or the rights for healthy environment, culture and development (by the way, they are not only the rights of peoples’ but individual rights too), have the absolutely equivalent status. Then they would turn to the norms that can guarantee the human dignity and become the base of freedom and justice. To live with dignity a person must have the guaranteed right for freedom, safety and adequate living standards. The right for the freedom from fear and the right for the freedom from hunger are equally significant for us. And we are glad that the right for the freedom from hunger appeared in the Universal Declaration of human rights, even if this was initiated by the Soviet Union. Our conception of human rights is a reflection of the political, economic and social changes in the modern world, as well as of the influence of these factors on the world situation with human rights protection.

First of all, these changes include the phenomenon of the globalization. I mean the widening of the economy of the free market, multi-party political systems and technological innovations, which are accompanied by the growth of the welfare of some people and pauperization and despair of others. Another change that influences the image of the modern world is the phenomenon opposed to the globalization, namely defragmentation – the increase of contradictions and conflicts between countries, disorder and collapse of some states, struggle for the power between certain clans and governing elites. The consequences of the defragmentation are the growth of discrimination and the danger for human rights protectors and the workers of humanitarian institutions, as well as the change of the methods of political repressions, which, in their turn, resulted even in the shifts in the work of Amnesty International that more and more focuses its activities not only on the freedoms of speech and thought, but on the violations of human rights as a result of their identity. This means that we are forced to protect people, who suffered not because of their thoughts, but because of their personality. This is a rather difficult process demanding new approaches, new methods of analysis and struggle. The third challenge for us is the reaction to these changes of the states that found themselves between Scylla of globalization and Charybdis of defragmentation and are unable either to control the global tendentious or fulfil the demands of all social groups that live in these states. In this situation the countries often lose the control over their own territories or at least the authority. Although almost al states use the rhetoric of the liberal democracy and human rights, only several of them seriously try to embody these principles. Yet, there are tasks that must and can be fulfilled by states. The states must protect their citizens from the pressure of the transnational corporations and international financial institutions. They must protect workers from exploitation, fight against the corruption of state officials and to prevent murders of human rights protectors and journalists. Our main method in this sphere is bringing the states to responsibility both for their activity and passivity, for example, in the sphere of protecting women and children from the domestic violence, for the absence of the control over the trade of weapons and torture tools, etc.

Since the moment of the fall of the Berlin Wall the international human rights protection movement has become much more numerous and strong. At the same time, the scale of repressions, poverty and military conflicts increased, and now the majority of the humanity suffers from these misfortunes. Human rights were always important for us only from the standpoint of their significance for concrete individuals and personal tragedies of the victims of human rights abuses. The salvation of victim always was the main goal of our organization. That is why we work in three directions. The first direction is the struggle for preserving the individuality of a victim, since the victim is not a sociological or statistical item, but a human creature. The second direction is the struggle against forgiveness. The justice cannot exist, if criminals, whichever posts they occupy, remain unpunished. Finally, the third direction is the struggle for the equal rights for all people. Human rights belong to everybody, not to the most educated, popular, etc.

The social and economic inequality engenders the serious violations of economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights. We acknowledge not only Locke’s principle on the naturalness of rights. The correct treatment of human rights includes not only the acknowledgment of the universality of the rights, but also of their indivisibility.

The majority of the poor people in the entire world are deprived of the advantages of globalization. The free market does not mean the more socially conscious market. On the contrary, the increase of poverty in the very center of the flourishing world develops in people the feeling that they live on the social and economic roadside, that nobody cares about them, and this creates the grounds for indignation and violence. Many people, including Ukrainians, have the profound feeling of the social unfairness. Millions of people throughout the world are discriminated in the access to education, job and power because of their racial or ethnic origin, sex or sexual orientation. The globalization is widening increasing the welfare of the rich and driving the poor to despair, so the human rights protectors must struggle not only for the juridical, but also for the social equality. The ethical approach to the globalization means the approach to the development based on human rights. If we want human rights to be respected in the developing countries or in the crisis-ridden countries like Ukraine, we must struggle not only against torture, illegal arrests and unjust courts, but also against hunger, illiteracy and discrimination.

When we are speaking about the free and just world, we mean the world, where every person enjoy all human rights contained in the Universal declaration of human rights and other concerned international documents. The sphere of our activities widened since the problems, with which we deal, changed. In future we plan not only to protect the civil and political rights, which were the center of attraction for us during the long time, but also to struggle for guaranteeing the observance of economic, social and cultural rights.

That is why I want to state that the liberal conception of human rights is not common and is not interpreted positively by the majority of human rights protectors in the modern world. On the contrary, during last 20-30 years this conception retreated under the pressure of the conception of universality and indivisibility of human rights.

What is more, the liberal conception, which narrows the sense of human rights and insists that the state is not responsible for guaranteeing the social and economic rights, impede the observance of women rights, rights of discriminated minorities, etc. This conception resulted in the situation, when the institutions and organizations, dealing with the problems of human rights, repudiate the problems of the rights of women, refugees, minorities, etc. and do not regard as human rights protecting such organizations as trade unions or women associations.

In the conclusion I want to say that the universality and indivisibility of human rights are the absolute values for us and may not be an object of any negotiations. This is the foundation of our human rights protection standpoint – the standpoint that the safety of people is more important that the safety of state. We believe that today, in our anxious time, only such approach may give some real hope for positive changes.

Evhen Zakharov, the Kharkiv Group for human rights protection

The text written by Natalya confirms, in my opinion, the idea that there exists no stable conception of human rights. This term is not defined in laws, as well as such key terms as "people", "national minority" and many others. It is important to touch on all positions stated by Natalya, so I am going to express only several comments.

Yet, I want to content about one thesis. All the time Natalya points out that she is presenting not her own opinion and not the position of the Ukrainian Association of Amnesty International, but some fundamental values, on which the entire Amnesty International movement is based. I know personally a number of members of Amnesty International both in the former USSR and abroad. Many of them, by the way, support namely the liberal conception of human rights. So, I will risk to suppose that Natalya nevertheless expressed her own viewpoint, and I think that not all members of the movement would agree with her, since the ideas, on which she insisted, are far from being indisputable.

I want to remark that it is impossible to treat all human rights equally, at least because they have different degree of advocacy, different nature and different sense. It is difficult for me to imagine the equal treatment of such rights as, for instance, the right for the freedom from torture and the right for the regular paid leave (Articles 5 and 25 of the Universal Declaration of human rights, correspondingly). The first right belongs to all and is absolute, any reasons may justify the appliance of torture. The second right… What leave may have a writer or an artist, who work when they want and as much as they want? It is obvious that this right is not natural, unalienable and common. And may it be regarded as a human right at all? Then let us seriously discuss the right for cleaning teeth… All this has no relation with the principle of indivisibility of rights, to which, by the way, I did not object.

I believe that one may ignore the question about the hierarchy of rights and freedoms. But it is impermissible, when one or another hierarchy is regarded as the only correct and may not be discussed. In my opinion, the level of importance of the rights is individual. Some people like freedom, others like order. Somebody reckons that the most important right is the right for life, and Socrates, as it is known, did not appreciate it very much. Another example: for Pushkin, it seems, the main right was the right for privacy: he lost his consciousness when learned that his correspondence with his wife was censored. And it is known that he considered the right for honor and dignity to be much more important that the right for life…


The public hearings "Chernobyl – modern problems"

On 29 November 2002 the public hearings "Chernobyl – modern problems" were held in Zhytomir. The hearings were organised by the Zhytomir oblast organisation "International society of human rights – Ukrainian section", Center of municipal development of Zhytomir, Youth parliament of the Zhytomir oblast, Zhytomir town department of "International society of human rights – Ukrainian section" supported by the oblast administration and oblast council of the Zhytomir oblast, as well as by the fund of regional initiatives and the National Endowment for Democracy (USA). Deputies of the local councils, officials from the organs of state power and local self-rule, as well as representatives of public organisations of the Zhytomir oblast took part in the hearings.

The participants discussed the Conception of the draft of the Ukrainian Law "On introducing changes into the Laws of Ukraine "On legal regime on the territory that underwent radioactive pollution as a result of the Chernobyl catastrophe" and "On the status and social protection of the citizens, who suffered from the Chernobyl catastrophe"". It was pointed out at the hearings that the Conception of the draft did not meet the expectations of the population, which suffered from the catastrophe. The Conception, the participants believe, must be improved, since now it is based not on the real situation, but on the desire to decrease the expenditures from the state budget for solving the problem. Besides, some provisions of the Conception need substantiation and correction. It does not answer the question about the further course of migration, health protection measures, radioactive monitoring in agriculture, etc.

The adoption of the Conception by the Supreme Rada will substantially worsen the level of social and radiation protection of population, thus abusing the European and international legal norms. It is necessary to envisage in the Conception the procedure of regulating the contradictions between the operating laws on Chernobyl and the separate resolutions of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. One of the especially important problems is the problem of social protection of the suffered population. The yearly reduction of financing of the medicine and recreation may not be called normal.

The representatives of public organisations of the Zhytomir oblast regard that the regulations of the Conception of the draft do not meet the aims of the radiation protection and noticeably restrict the rights of the victims of the Chernobyl catastrophe. That is why the Conception must be rejected and completed with the account of the above-mentioned remarks.

The materials of the hearings and the issued appeals will be passed to the President of Ukraine, Supreme Rada of Ukraine, secretariat of the ombudsperson, profile committee and representatives of the executive branch of the power.

The third school of human rights in Kharkiv

The human rights protection activities in Ukraine do not give too many reasons for joy. Yet, this is a New Year issue, so I want to impact some pleasant news to our readers.

On 7-10 December the Kharkiv Group for human rights protection held the third school of human rights for the leaders and activists of NGOs. This time the representatives of 47 organisations from 17 oblasts of Ukraine gathered in Kharkiv. The majority of the participants were from Kharkiv and the Kharkiv oblast, the second place was occupied by Lviv and the Lviv oblast – 7 persons, then Lugansk – 5 persons and Poltava – 4; all in all there were 50 participants. They were chosen out of 109 persons, who sent the acceptable applications. We regarded as unacceptable the applications sent by the persons not involved in human rights protection movement and the applications by the participants of the previous schools. We are sorry that, unfortunately, we could not invite all persons interested in the school, but it is difficult to teach large groups, and the budget of the project is very small.

Each participant received the package of documents and books that would help in the human rights protection work. The listeners attended the lectures "The conception of human rights", "What is human rights protection?", "Protection of human rights in court", "Applying the international tools of human rights protection", "The role of the European court of human rights" and "Protection of human rights by NGOs". Such topics as "Human rights protection and politics", "Human rights protecting NGOs and the power", "Cooperation of human rights protecting organisation", "Information exchange", "Organisation of joint actions and campaigns", "NGOs and mass media" discussed in groups evoked the keen interest. In general, such discussions in small groups are the most favorite form of education, both for the participants and organisers. The aim of the school was not only the opportunity to share the knowledge and experience, but also (and maybe it was the most important) the opportunity to communicate, to express own opinions and to listen to the ideas of other people, sometimes arguable, but always very interesting. The participants demonstrated the maturity of the opinions, deep knowledge, tolerance and ability to hold a civilized discussion on every topic. The greatest interest and the most active debates were aroused by the topics concerning the relations with the power and political parties. These topics are extremely exciting for human rights protectors and they must solve the problems connected with these relations very often. There are no ready recipes, so it is very important to formulate the main principles of such relations. During the discussion on organising the joint actions and campaigns the participants shared their experience in this sphere. Many of them have such experience, but the best accounts were delivered by Volodymir Berezin, the manager of the Artemovsk ecological center "Bakhmat". The participants recognized unanimously that the collaboration of NGOs is necessary, and the joint actions are the lion’s share of such collaboration.

The participants of the school also considered the problems of finances and management of NGOs. In the course of the training on compiling a project four very interesting works, jointly created by the participants, were presented.

Yet, the participants were not only fulfilling the schedule of the school, they communicated with each other and the representatives of Kharkiv NGOs beyond the schedule. The fruitful meeting was organised of parents of the incarcerated with Evhen Poltoratskiy, a deputy head of the parents’ committee "Poriatunok" ("Salvation") from Ivano-Frankivsk. Representatives of ecological NGOs lively discussed their problems, the meeting of the workers of public reception offices from various places was very interesting too. New contacts, agreements about cooperation, opportunity to exceed the limits of regional or professional interests – all this is very important for the development of any public activities.

The participants of the school decided to celebrate 10 December – the Day of human rights like a New Year. Why not, maybe this was the beginning of a new tradition?

The organisers of the school are satisfied with the results in spite of some troubles that are inevitable during any actions. We hope that the participants did not notice these troubles, or, if they did, we hope that they will excuse us. The certificates about the participation have been already sent by post, as well as the literature ordered by the participants.

If the election in Ukraine were honest, we would live in another country

Nobody can say for sure, whether the Ukrainian citizens understand that the real democracy cannot exist without honest and transparent elections. Yet, during the time of independence they were convinced more than once that Stalin was right saying that the voting itself is unimportant, but everything is decided by those, who count the votes. So, all subjects of the election process (except those, maybe, who cannot win the sympathy of voters honestly and need the falsifications) are interested in the minimization of the influence of the human element on the results of the election.

Several days ago the seminar "The role of informational and technical maintenance of the election process in guaranteeing transparent, honest and free elections" was held in the Supreme Rada of Ukraine. The seminar was devoted to the perspectives of developing the legal regulations of informational and technical maintenance of the election process and the protection of the informational-analytical systems from the non-sanctioned intrusion and misuses.

The organisers of the seminar were: the institute of election right headed by MP Yuri Klochkovskiy and the Ukrainian-American project "Election and political processes". This was the fourth seminar on the problems of improving the election process held by them. The organisers use to invite to their seminars the members of the Central election commission; MPs; top officials of State communications committee, State committee of statistics, State tax administration; representatives of political parties, public organisations and mass media.

David Kupferschmidt, the manager of the project, told about the technologies of voting and counting votes applied in various countries. He said that it is curiously, but the most advanced in this sense country is Brazil, where every seventh inhabitant is illiterate: 90 million of votes are counted there only during… 10 hours. The term is so short because each election station is provided with a computer, which costs less than $400 and is connected to the national computer system. A voter presses the button that corresponds to the number of the chosen candidate, the photo appears on the monitor that shows the voter that he has not made a mistake and after this he presses the button "finish the task". At the same time the main computer of the Central election commission receives information that one more person voted and such-and-such candidate got one more vote. Maybe, nobody needs to be convinced that the shorter is the interval between the voting and the count of votes, the more honest would be the result of the election. The application of the computers in Brazil made the falsification impossible, and what is more, this made the parliamentary and presidential elections 20 times cheaper.

The authorities in Russia are going to introduce the computers-scanners at the election stations. These scanners will automatically read from the ballot-paper the number of the candidate chosen by a voter. Yet, it seems to me, the intelligent equipment would be helpless, if somebody would want to falsify the results and would mark several candidates, thus making the bulletin invalid.

Finally the participants of the heated discussion came to the agreement that it is impossible to reach the just and transparent elections both at local and state levels without applying new informational technologies. Without this the situation will remain the same: people will vote for some candidates, and mandates will be given to others.

The improvement of the election process is an urgent social need, beginning from the Law of Ukraine "On the Central election commission", the draft of which was presented for consideration to the Parliament by Yu. Klochkovskiy, and finishing with the local councils. Yet, it is already obvious that the process is hampered by a certain part of political elite, who does not want the electronic democracy. Fortunately, even the existing laws permit the Central election commission to introduce the electronic analytical system for controlling the election process and determining the results of the election.

The declaration on the cooperation of non-governmental human rights protecting organizations.

On 27 November the meeting of the representatives of non-governmental human rights protecting organisations was held in Kyiv. The meeting was organised by the Kharkiv Group for human rights protection with the support of the international "Renaissance" Foundation. During a day 85 representatives of 79 organisations discussed the directions and the ways of the cooperation of the non-governmental organisations and parliamentary structures, the cooperation intended for the implementation and protection of human rights. The following point of view was dominating: it is senseless to create the juridical person, such as an association of NGOs, for coordinating the activities, it will be more advisable to create a union like the Civil council of non-governmental organisations (not all participants liked this name, but nobody proposed any other), the union in a form of a "mild" horizontal coalition, which will act through the working groups created for concrete projects and solving concrete problems. The cooperation with the organs of state power is both needed and desirable, but it is necessary to preserve the independence and to reach the equality in these relations.

The working group consisting of the representatives of 8 organisations was created. The group was empowered to prepare the declaration on the cooperation and the resolution on the Civil council, to conduct the poll of those, who wanted to take part in the cooperation, to outline the plan and strategy of the joint actions and to compile the list of the problems, for the solution of which the working groups should be created. All documents, which are prepared now by the working group, will be published in "Prava ludyny" and placed on the site for the discussion. Here we present the draft of the declaration, which is already approved by the majority of the working group members.

The declaration on the cooperation of non-governmental human rights protecting organisations

We, representatives of non-governmental human rights protecting organisations,

for the consolidation of human rights in Ukraine,

the necessity of developing the mechanisms of human rights protection,

the necessity of education in the spirit of human rights,

the necessity of bringing the Ukrainian laws, court and administrative practices to conformity with the demands of the European Convention of human rights and fundamental freedoms (1950) taking into account the practices of the European Court of human rights,

taking into consideration
the necessity to introduce changes into laws, the changes that will harmonize the laws with the norms of the European Community,

the urgency of the processes of self-organisation and self-regulation of human rights protecting non-governmental organisations aimed for stimulating the network programs and organising the joint actions and campaigns,

declare the intentions:

to create the Council ofhuman rights protecting non-governmental organisations;

to work out the strategy and plan of the cooperation of human rights protecting non-governmental organisations;

to concentrate the joint efforts on

the analysis of the laws and law-applying practices concerning human rights, the analysis of the state policy in the sphere of human rights,

the monitoring of the law drafts related to human rights,

the preparation of the expert conclusions on the appropriateness and improvement of these drafts.

the assistance to the education in the sphere of human rights.

Point of view

The contacts of Kuchma with the NATO will not be a secret for public now.

On 27 December the Supreme Rada of Ukraine supported the request to Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma on canceling the classification "for service use only" of the action plan Ukraine – the NATO.

251 MP out of 418, who were registered, voted for the request of MPs Mykola Katerinchuk, Igor Ostash and Valeriy Lebedivsky (fraction "Our Ukraine").

In November, at the sitting of the joint commission held in the framework of the Prague summit of the Alliance, Ukraine and the NATO adopted the action plan and the plan of goals – 2003.

News from the CIS countries

The on-line access to the most complete database of public and charity organizations.

The center of innovations and development, which administrates the most complete database of public and charity organisations, provides now the access to the database in the on-line mode. Without any passwords or registration you can find the information we possess about every of almost 40 thousand public and charity organisations registered in Ukraine. You simply visit the site, section "Who is who". This database gives the opportunity to search the organisations by various criteria: name, register code, address (the oblast, town and even street (!)), surname of the organisation head, phone number, key words describing the activities of the organisation. YOU ALSO CAN INSERT THE ADDITIONS TO THE DESCRIPTION OF YOUR ORGANIZATION. Here you can obtain the information about any organisation contained in the COMMON STATE REGISTER OF CITIZENS’ UNIONS AND CHARITY ORGANIZATIONS that came into effect on 10 March 1999 and is maintained by the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine. This register is a computer database created by means of a computer system. This database contains the aggregate of the electronic copies of state registers of citizens’ unions and charity organisations, lists of branches and representations of all-Ukrainian and international charity organisations united on the base of common rules, standards and information exchange procedures. The registering organs and Informational center add to the Common Register the data on registration of all-Ukrainian, international and local public organisations, political parties and their local branches; all-Ukrainian, international and local charity organisations and their local branches having the status of juridical persons (organisations, in what follows). In the part "ANNUAL REPORTS OF CHARITY ORGANIZATIONS OF UKRAINE" one can familiarize with the annual reports on the activities of the charity organisations. According to the provisions of Article 5 item 3 of the Decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine "On the income tax collected from Ukrainian citizens" and the demands of the Ukrainian Law "On introducing changes into the Decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine "On the income tax collected from Ukrainian citizens" in the part of the taxation of the charity aid", the Ukrainian charity organisations must publish the complete reports on their sources of obtaining funds and directions of expenses not less than one time a year. So, the annual reports are, in a manner, the visiting cards of the organisations, which guarantee the transparency of their activities. All these databases are accessible from the Internet-portal "Encyclopedia of charity" ( – the special site devoted to the questions of charity in Ukraine. The idea, conception and design of this site belong to the center of innovations and development, a Kyiv public organisation. We want to create a real assistant, which will render aid to those, who work in charity organisations, as well as to those, who wants to cooperate with Ukrainian charity organisations, first of all – to the corporative donors. The site is intended for providing the access to the information resources, which are extremely necessary in the everyday work of charity organisations and sponsors, the donors of charity aid. We regularly supplement and refresh the information on the specifics of the activities of the charity organisations in Ukraine (explanations on taxes, consultations of bookkeepers, auditors and lawyers on rendering and using the charity aid, corresponding legal acts, comments of separate provisions of these acts, etc.). The potential donors can scrutinize the annual reports of the organisations, since this site gives the donors the unique opportunity to study the activities of the organisations and to choose which organisations they want to help.

We will be grateful for the propositions and wishes concerning the contents of the site. You can write your propositions in the section "Guest book" or to send by the address [email protected]. We want to create the resource that will be really useful for you, dear visitors of our site!

“Prava Ludiny” (human rights) monthly bulletin, 2002, #12