“Prava Ludiny” (human rights) monthly bulletin, 2003, #10
The number of serious crimes in Ukraine has not changed since the abolition of the death penalty 10 October is the World Day against death penalty Against torture and ill-treatment
Incident in Yaremcha Who will protect us from… militia? Privacy
Round table for discussing the problems of passport system in Ukraine was held in the Committee in charge of human rights, national minorities and interethnic relations MPs did not endorse the draft of the law on the Unified Register of personal data Again about the monitoring Freedom of expression
Persecutions of disobedient press are going on in Ukraine The newspaper «Lvivska gazeta» was checked and fined according to the plan Human trafficking
Tradition of indifference Environmental rights
The decision of the power organs about not-giving the refugee status was acknowledged to be illegal Sitting of the Committee in charge of human rights, national minorities and interethnic relations On refugees
Ukrainian network of business information LIGABusinessInform conducted the poll Prosecutor of the Crimea made public the data on the struggle with the «uniformed turnskins» Court practices
Appeal of soldiers mothers of Ukraine to the President of Ukraine, the Supreme Rada of Ukraine and the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine Self-government
The Center «Legal aid to the detained» began to work (press-release) Public hearings on the protection of property rights of the owners of land shares Deported peoples
Vladimir Ponomariov has died In memory of Marek Nowicki Marek Nowicki, one of the most famous human rights protectors, has died
The right to life
The number of serious crimes in Ukraine has not changed since the abolition of the death penalty
This information was communicated today by Valeria Lutkovska, a deputy of the Minister of Justice of Ukraine, at the meeting with the delegation of the Supreme Court of Poland.
By the words of V. Lutkovska, there are no proofs that the number of grave crimes is less, if the criminal legislation is severer. «However, the main positive result is the fact that the state stopped to be a potential murderer», declared Ms. Lutkovska. She also pointed out that «the main problem in Ukraine is not the severity of punishment, but the prevention of recidivism».
Secretariat of the Council of Ukrainian human rights protecting organizations
10 October is the World Day against death penalty
The World Coalition against death penalty proclaimed 10 October 2003 the World Day against death penalty. Henceforth 10 October of every year will be devoted to the intensification of the international movement for the absolute abolition of death penalty in all countries.
The World Coalition turns to all organizations and activists of human rights protection movement with the appeal to do their best for drawing the attention of public to this problem. The Coalition plans to conduct more than 100 actions in 20 countries of 5 continents.
In particular, the World Coalition proposes:
- to organize the peaceful assemblies near the buildings of diplomatic representatives of the countries that still apply death penalty;
- to distribute the letters and other correspondence concerning the pardon of the persons, who were condemned to death penalty;
- to organize meetings, debates and round tables concerning death penalty.
The World Coalition, in its turn, organizes the 24-hour Internet-demonstration on its web page for all countries, which apply death penalty, demanding to suspend the execution of the verdicts and to abolish death penalty for all crimes. The goal of this action is the collection of more than a million signatures for the prohibition of death penalty and to send these signatures to the governments of the countries, which apply death penalty.
The World Coalition against death penalty was created in May 2002 in Rome. The Coalition unites 150 famous activists and non-governmental international organizations, which took part in the first world congress against death penalty (Strasbourg, 2001).
More detailed information about the World Day against death penalty and the World Coalition against death penalty may be found on the Internet-page of this organization: and on the page of the European Coalition against death penalty: (http://gbr.ecadp.org)
According to the information of the agency «Associated Press», representatives of the European Union declared that they would apply all diplomatic methods to impel China, Iran, the USA, Japan and other countries to prohibit death penalty. The European Union actively cooperates with other countries, such as Mexico and Canada, as well as with all members of the Council of Europe. The European Union also intends to celebrate the first World Day against death penalty. The official representatives of the European Union told that they realized fully that it would not be easy to persuade Washington and Tokyo to make some steps in this direction. «This is a complicated and delicate sphere», said Daniel Smadja, the head of the department of human rights of the European Commission. «We must not lose hope. We will achieve the positive result, but the process will be slow».
We want to remind that, according to the decision of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine of 29 December 1999, death penalty was acknowledged to be an unconstitutional punishment. Later this kind of punishment was excluded from the new Criminal Code of Ukraine. Besides, in November 2002 Ukraine signed Protocol No. 13 of the European Convention on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, which concerned the abolition of death penalty in any circumstances.
Secretariat of the Council of Ukrainian human rights protecting organizations
Against torture and ill-treatment
Incident in Yaremcha
On 7 September Yuri Yurchenko, the prosecutor of the Ivano-Frankivsk oblast, received the appeal from Yuri Romaniuk, a deputy of the oblast council from the Kolomiya election district No. 18. The deputy asked to initiate the prosecutors check «of the fact of cynical and brutal beating of three inhabitants of Kolomiya by the officers of Yaremcha militia department during the detention and convoying, as well as the violation of human rights and freedoms during the preliminary incarceration and the violation of the procedural norms during interrogations».
Besides, the deputy asked to check the observance of the procedural norms by the investigating officer of the Ivano-Frankivsk railway militia (we do not want to mention the name of the officer for the obvious reasons), who was in charge of this case, from the viewpoint of the objectivity and legality of the investigation and from the viewpoint of the observance of anti-corruption laws by this officer.
Copies of the appeals were directed to Mykhaylo Vyshyvaniuk, the head of the oblast state administration, Vasyl Brus, the head of the oblast council, and Bogdan Kernitskiy, the head of the oblast militia directorate.
So, what happened? We will try to restore the events on the basis of the deputys appeal and the explanations of the victims (who are the accused at the same time).
The incident happened in the local train Rakhiv – Kolomiya. On 27 August 2003 at about 9 p.m. three boys and two girls got on the train. The young people were returning from the holiday. At the station they bought one bottle of beer for each. In the train the youths whiled away the time playing cards. After some time several passengers from the adjacent compartment began to bother them. The aggressors were drunk and disliked the fact that the youths were speaking Russian. The boys tried to ignore the provocations, but one of the drunk passengers grabbed one of the boys, P., and stroke the boys head against the wooden seat-back. P.s nose began to bleed. In order to defend himself P. punched the attacker. Other passengers came to the rescue of the aggressor, since he was a local dweller. The youths did not want to continue the incident, so they took their knapsacks and rushed out of the train at the nearest station Mikulichin. Yet, the attackers ran after them to the platform and proceeded with the fight.
A women, who observed this excess, began to cry: «Stop to beat the children, you will murder them!» At that moment the youths again took their knapsacks and jumped into the train. When they, beaten black and blue, arrived at the station Yaremcha, 5-6 militiamen from the local precinct were already waiting for them.
So, it seemed that the problems should be over now, since the law-enforcers arrived. Yet, nothing of the kind happened! The militia officers threw the boys from the carriage to the platform, handcuffed and searched them. P. asked one of the girls to give him a bottle of cologne: he wanted to wash and disinfect his wounds. One of the militiamen snatched the bottle away rudely, flung it to a garbage can and hit the victim with the baton. The boys wrote in their explanations that all militiamen beat them with batons, fists and feet, while they stayed at the platform.
In spite of the obvious signs of beating (bruises, bleeding, etc.) the doctor-on-duty did not compile the act of medical examination. The test of the level of alcohol in the blood of the boys also was not conducted, and later it was stated that they were in the middle stage of alcohol intoxication. After the hospital the detained were transported to the Yaremcha town militia precinct. Here, according to the information given by Yuri Romaniuk, the sufferings continued. P. was kicked into the cell. The law-enforcers tried to force him to sign some document, but did not permit to familiarize with the contents of this document. P. refused to sign the document and was beaten again.
Detained B. had sandals on his bare feet. By his words, a militiaman purposely trod on his toes trying to hurt him as much as possible. Detained Z. was tortured too. The officer-on-duty did not want to write down the evidence of the victim, and dictated his own version with the obvious accusatory implication. The officer blamed the detained for smoking marijuana. The so-called interrogation was accompanied by beating.
From 8 a.m. to noon the detained were not let to the lavatory, all their requests were ignored, their honor and dignity were humiliated.
On the next day the boys were taken to Ivano-Frankivsk, where they signed the explanations written after the version of the investigating officer. The investigator disregarded all remarks and protests of the victims. On the contrary, he threatened that, if the boys would not sign the proposed text, they would undergo the torture even worse than in Yaremcha. The boys were intimidated and exhausted, they did not understand already the consequences of signing the falsified protocol and explanations…
The investigating officer of the Ivano-Frankivsk railway militia started a criminal case against the youths. Moreover, the explanation handed to the prosecutor reads that 2000 USD are openly demanded from one of the victims for closing the case.
Thus, in the opinion of deputy Yuri Romaniuk, there are all grounds for instituting a criminal case against the officers of Yaremcha militia precinct, who were on duty at night of 27 August.
Who will protect us from… militia?
This year 5 militiamen were accused after 3 criminal cases. Yet, according to the information of Leonid Gorelik, the head of the oblast department for the cooperation with law-enforcing organs, no criminal cases were instituted against law-enforcers after citizens complaints. At the same time the number of the complaints against the arbitrary actions of law-enforcers is growing: this number was 1215 in 2002, and 892 complaints were handed during 8 months of the current year. However, the check confirmed the facts stated only in 86 complaints; as a result, 124 militiamen were brought to the disciplinary responsibility.
As to the rest 806 complaints, either the citizens gave the untrue information or the investigating organ «defended» the uniformed criminals. Well, both versions are depressing.
Round table for discussing the problems of passport system in Ukraine was held in the Committee in charge of human rights, national minorities and interethnic relations
On 21 October Gennadiy Udovenko, the Head of the Committee, announced that the Committee was discussing the problems connected with the reform of the passport system. On 16 December 2002 the round table on the questions of the reform of registration system was held in the committee with the support of the OSCE Bureau of Democratic Institutes and Human Rights, and on 31 March 2002 the round table «Legislative settlement of the questions of the freedom of movement and free choice of the place of residence» was conducted with the support of the same organization. The increase of interest in these problems is caused, first of all, by the intensification of the legislative activities in this sphere. The progressive solution of this problem is one of the decisive factors of the development of democratic civil society in Ukraine and the provision of citizens rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution.
The head of the committee pointed out that the Committee was continuing the work in this direction. One of the additional stimuli for the consideration of the question of reforming the passport system at the «round table» was the elaboration by the Committee of the draft of the law on the introduction of changes to some laws on Ukraine concerning the improvement of the guarantees of citizens right for the freedom of movement (author of the draft – MP D. Zhvzniya). The majority of the Committee members endorsed the conception of this draft. At the same time, the members made a number of propositions both of organizational and conceptual character. In particular, the MPs expressed their anxiety about the exchange of passports envisaged by the law draft.
G. Udovenko pointed out that, organizing the round table and the discussion of the reform of the passport system, they wanted to promote the development of the proper legislative base on guaranteeing the constitutional rights and fundamental freedoms of citizens in conformity with the principles of democratic law-abiding state and universally recognized international standards.
O. Perov, the manager of the State department in charge of the questions of citizenship, immigration and registration of physical persons, delivered the report about the constitutional rights of citizens for the freedom of movement and for the free choice of the place of residence, as well as about bringing the legal norms of Ukraine into accord with the international standards.
G. Udovenko dwelled on some key questions of legislative regulation of the problems of the passport system in Ukraine. In particular, he stated that, during the consideration of the main goals of the introduction of registration of physical persons, it would be necessary to attend to the following demands to the basic draft:
- complete agreement with the Ukrainian Constitution and other laws;
- concordance with the international legal mechanisms concerning this sphere;
- creation of the mechanism for the protection of the right of physical persons for the freedom of movement and for the free choice of the place of residence;
- guaranteed use of personal data only in the interests of human rights protection and the protection of national security;
- creation of the automatized system of personal registration of physical persons;
- monitoring and prognostication of the demographic situation in the state;
- maximal simplification of the procedure of issuing the documents that identify physical persons and confirm the Ukrainian citizenship;
- providing the guaranteed services to citizens at the places of their registration.
The participants of the round table discussed many actual problems concerning the passport system in Ukraine. Taking into account the constitutional right of citizens for the freedom of movement and for the free choice of the place of residence, the participants emphasized that a number of legislative, organizational and practical measures were realized in Ukraine in the sphere of citizenship, migration and the development of the corresponding state institutions for guaranteeing the permanent juridical relations between the state and citizens for the fulfillment of mutual rights and duties.
In the concluding remarks Head of the Committee G. Udovenko said that the presented information would be extremely useful for the further work on the problems of reforming the passport system in Ukraine and the questions connected with these problems.
MPs, representatives of the Presidential Administration, Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, ministries and agencies, as well as representatives of the international organizations accredited in Ukraine, took part in the round table.
Secretariat of the Council of Ukrainian human rights protecting organizations
MPs did not endorse the draft of the law on the Unified Register of personal data
The Supreme Rada Committee in charge of state structure and local self-rule did not endorse the law on the Unified Register of personal data. The law draft stipulates the organizational, juridical and economic grounds of the creation and maintenance of the unified system of the registration and identification of the persons, who permanently reside in Ukraine.
The draft establishes the procedure of forming the informational fund of the Unified Register and the procedure of the registration of the information about a person: the data obtained from the corresponding state organs and directly from the persons will be recorded in the electronic form by the registration organs. At that a physical person will have the right to register the information about his/her residence on his/her own, and this will not be obligatory, communicates the Informational directorate of the Supreme Rada of Ukraine.
So, the adoption of the law will create the conditions for the complete realization of the constitutional right of physical persons, who stay in Ukraine on the legal grounds, to reside where they want. This is the main difference between the proposed principle of registration, which has the «informative» character, and the «permissive» propiska institute that exists now.
The members of the Committee believe that one of the essential drawbacks of the draft is the absence of distinct definition of rights and duties of the organs of registration of personal data and the administrator of the Unified register, of the mechanisms of the cooperation of these organs, the procedure of the renovation of the data in the Register and the procedure of the appointment to the post of the administrator of the Unified Register.
The draft also ignores the acute problem of registration of the homeless. Definitions of some terms, which are used in the draft, are absent, for example, «personal data» and «unique program-technical key-identifier». The definitions of such terms as «apatrides» and «foreigners» differ from the definitions given in the Law of Ukraine «On the Ukrainian citizenship».
It is also noteworthy that the realization of the draft provisions will demand the expenditures from the State Budget of Ukraine, but the accompanying documents to the draft do not contain any propositions concerning its financing, and this is a violation of the Regulations of the Supreme Rada of Ukraine. Besides, the MPs pointed out that the necessity existed to regulate legislatively the activities connected with the collection of personal data and guaranteeing the purposeful use of these data in the interests of human rights and national security.
The adoption of the discussed law draft is necessary now, since we need the mechanism, which would effectively promote the realization of citizens rights and would be directed at the harmonization of the system of registration of physical persons in the compliance with European norms.
Secretariat of the Council of Ukrainian human rights protecting organizations
Again about the monitoring
I want to continue the discussion concerning the monitoring, so I am going to state my attitude to the new draft of the law «On the monitoring of telecommunications».
The Cabinet of Ministers introduced this law draft to the Supreme Rada. The draft was developed in the framework of the fulfillment of «anti-terrorist» normative acts (the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers and the Edict of the President) adopted at the end of 2001 after the events of 11 September in the USA.
Since the question of the monitoring is closely connected with citizens right for privacy, in particular, for the confidentiality of phone talks and correspondence, the presented law draft must be essentially recast.
I reckon that this recast should mainly consist in the concretization of the following principal conditions of the introduction and exploitation of the monitoring system.
1. PERMISSION TO CONDUCT THE MONITORING
The draft (Article 5) states that the monitoring is realized after a court decision. Yet, in practice, many organs, which carry out the ODA, as well as counterespionage and intelligence activities, get the permission for the access to the monitoring system not from court, but from the special organ: the Security Service of Ukraine (Article 9 of the draft). So, the Security Service gives the permission to itself promising «to be honest».
In my opinion, a terminal of the monitoring system must be placed in a court organ, and the access to the system must be rendered only from this terminal, only to the precisely determined officials, for the precisely determined term and with obligatory log-keeping. The system of the monitoring must the projected and realized in the way that should make impossible the access to any data about any person, except the data that were inputted from the court terminal and logged.
2. CONTROL OVER THE LOG
Article 5 of the draft envisages keeping the log, but it is known only that the log-keeping will be realized «by means of new informational technologies» and «the procedure of keeping and storage of the log of the monitoring of telecommunications will be established by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine».
I think that such vagueness is inadmissible, as well as the reduction of the role of such important question as the independent control over the use of the monitoring system, which is extremely dangerous for human rights.
The concrete procedures of the control over the monitoring must be stipulated in details by this Law. The technical equipment for keeping the log must be placed in the prosecutors office, and the ombudsperson must have the access to the log.
3. ACCESS TO DATA AFTER THE CLOSURE OF A CASE
Article 12 envisages the right of citizens «to obtain, in the accordance to the legal procedure, the written explanations concerning the restriction of their rights and freedoms during the monitoring of telecommunications and to appeal against these activities», but the law stipulates neither the concrete procedure of obtaining the explanations, nor the duty of the officials to give the explanations, nor the corresponding right for apatrides, foreigners and (especially!) juridical persons and groups of persons, who also, according to Article 1, are «the objects of monitoring».
In my opinion, after the closure of a case and after the end of the term of the monitoring established by court, as well as in all other cases of stopping the monitoring, «the physical or juridical person (or a group of persons)» must obtain the detailed log of the monitoring concerning them for the further appeal to court (if needed) against the activities of the «anti-terrorist» organs. Strict criminal responsibility of the officials and the compensation of the inflicted damage by the Ukrainian state should be envisaged, if such log would not be presented or would be incomplete.
4. TECHNICAL MEANS FOR THE MONITORING AND LOG-KEEPING
The draft does not contain any provisions concerning the technical means, except «the purchase or development after the agreement». Such «development», «certification» and «meeting the requirements» result, in fact, in the appearance of one provider of the overpriced «certified systems and services» or in the necessity of establishing friendly, but not free of charge relations with the inspectors. Another problem is the software for the monitoring system, which contents are unknown, but in which one must confide, since it was created by «honest people». I believe that the hardware, which is mounted in the providing companies, should have the unified computer base, which can be bought anywhere. The software must have the open code, from which the algorithm of the monitoring should be comprehensible. The checksum of the compiled code should be accessible from outside for tracing the uncertified access.
I want to point out that the access should be provided to the source code of the software and the checksum, but not to the identification codes of subscribers, service data or the contents of the communication sessions (terminology of the law draft). This will not impede the competent organs to conduct the legal monitoring, but this will create the opportunity to other, not less competent, organs to control the use of the monitoring systems and to protect the rights of «the objects of monitoring».
5. ECONOMIC ASPECTS OF THE MONITORING
I reckon that the introduction of the monitoring systems is economically expedient only for great providing companies, who have thousands or ten of thousands of customers. It is senseless to install the expensive monitoring systems in the local networks, in small providing companies, at village telephone stations, etc. It is quite enough to use in such cases the existing practice of obtaining information from the operator (provider). By the way, we do not know about any attempt of a Ukrainian operator or provider to disobey the legal demand of the competent organs connected with obtaining this information.
Such practice will liquidate the financial problem – the cost of the monitoring system is not very onerous for a great providing company, but the attempts to introduce the monitoring in small networks will hamper the development of telecommunications in the remote and sparsely populated districts.
The draft must be analyzed more thoroughly, but even now I think that the Ukrainian Internet Association should turn to the committees and fractions of the Supreme Rada with the following propositions:
- to reject the draft of the law «On the monitoring of telecommunications» presented by the Cabinet of Ministers and to direct the draft for the revision;
- to create (a) transparent, (b) open and (c) competent deliberative organ of the Supreme Rada in charge of the questions of information and telecommunications; representatives of the real business circles and the real public organizations (and not «tame» ones) should take part in the work of this organ.
Freedom of expression
Persecutions of disobedient press are going on in Ukraine
According to the UNIAN information, on 24 September the appeal court of the Khmelnitskiy oblast obliged «Chernivetska gazeta» to pay 25 thousand hryvnas to an official, who recognized himself in a feuilleton published by the newspaper. In April 2003 this official won the case in the Pershotravnevy court of Chernivtsy. Then he demanded 50 thousand hryvnas. So, the appeal court partly satisfied the appeal of the editorial board of the newspaper. This information was communicated by Petro Kobevko in his interview to the UNIAN agency.
In April 2003 the Pershotravnevy court of Chernivtsy issued the guilty verdict on the claim handed by Oleksandr Simenko, a former head of the Directorate for fighting the organized crime and corruption of the Chernivtsy oblast state administration, against the newspaper «Chas». The court obliged the newspaper to pay 50 thousand hryvnas of compensation and to publish the refutation of the article «How Oleksandr and Volodymir went to a bath-house». This publication described (in a satirical form, without the surnames) an episode from the life of an authority, who «went to a bath-house with a briefcase containing 300 thousand USD». The former official of the oblast administration demanded 200 thousand hryvnas from the newspaper. He also demanded to block the accounts of the newspaper and to seize its property, but the court did not satisfy this part of the claim. Local journalists and representatives of the Institute of mass information were present at the April court sitting.
The editor-in-chief of »Chas» told that he had been disappointed with the decision of the appeal court, since «the matter concerned the moral values». By his words, the judge in Khmelnitskiy, as well as his colleague in Chernivtsy, did not apply Article 10 of the European Convention on human rights and fundamental freedoms, thus «some violations were committed». The editor stated that, in spite of the decrease of the compensation sum, this sum was still «too large» for the edition. Yet, he is sure that «the newspaper will be published all the same, regardless of the wishes of some authorities». P. Kobevko informed that «Chas» would appeal against the new decision to the Supreme Court of Ukraine, and, if it would be necessary, to the European court of human rights. He also pointed out that all accounts of «Chas» were blocked after the decision of the Khmelnitskiy court.
The newspaper «Lvivska gazeta» was checked and fined according to the plan
The statements that the check of «Lvivska gazeta» by the tax inspection was carried out by the order of the authorities are ungrounded, declares the State Tax Administration (STA) of the Lviv oblast.
The press center of the STA of the Lviv oblast informs: «From 10 June to 23 July 2003, according to the National plan of checks, the workers of the STA of the Lichakovskiy district of the Lviv oblast conducted the check of the financial activities of «Lvivska gazeta». The check resulted in the imposition of a small fine «. By the information of the tax inspection, now the Lviv STA considers the complaint concerning the results of the check. The tax inspection promises to give the answer in the accordance with the «legally stipulated procedure».
The STA communicates that «Lvivska gazeta» complained «against the conclusions of only one check; the tax organs did not conduct the checks of other firms that belonged to the founders of the newspaper».
The commentary of «Lvivska gazeta» reads that this information «looks like, mildly speaking, oblivion or, what is more probable, a purposeful lie».
The authors remind to Mr. Zuevskiy, the head of the press center of the Lviv oblast STA, that the official information was also given about the checks of the company «Dzyga» and the institution of the criminal case against the administration of the joint-stock company «Trottola», the co-owners of «Lvivska gazeta».
«Representatives of informational agencies, newspapers, radio and TV described the situation against «Lvivska gazeta» using your press releases», states the edition. «The extraordinary check of «Dzyga» was finished on 27 July, but no official documents were presented until now. Instead of this, three tax officers are sitting in all cafes and galleries of «Dzyga»: they carry out the so-called «time-study». Nobody knows what that means. DJs, musicians, artists, poets, writers, barmen and security guards are summoned for interrogations… If it is not a check, then what your workers are doing?», asks the newspaper. «The investigation activities are carried out in the company «Trottola» every day. These activities are connected with the criminal case on the non-payment of taxes at the especially large amount». «Lvivska gazeta» also commented the words «a small fine»: they insisted that the fine was equal to 23.5 thousand hryvnas.
«We want to remind to our respected tax inspection that a criminal case may be instituted on the basis of imposing the fine more than 17 thousand hryvnas, so such «small fine» can be rather dangerous for all businessmen», the representatives of the newspaper say. «There are many proofs that the Lviv tax officers had the order to impose a fine more than 17 thousand on every enterprise they checked».
««Lvivska gazeta» was fined because the tax officers reckoned that the use of telephones and the Internet might not be regarded as industrial expenditures», the newspaper workers wrote.
In the end of the comment the authors turned to Mr. Zuevskiy with the question: «Why you, the head of the press center of the Lviv oblast STA, did not express until now your opinion about the illegal order of Myroslav Khomiak, the head of the State tax inspection of the Lviv oblast?»
«On 11 September he issued the order «to destroy in five days the business of the founders of the newspaper». After this the criminal case against «Trottola» was started, and after this the tax officers began to interrogate the poets and musicians of «Dzyga»», «Lvivskagazeta» states.
Tradition of indifference
I want to draw the attention to the situation with the observance of rights of the so-called «street» children. The situation is stable. This means that the rights of these children are abused permanently and everywhere, and nobody is worried by that except the children. Yet, we are not used to listen to their opinions, and they cannot express their opinions properly.
I have been working with such children for several recent years, and I understood that the majority of our citizens and, first of all, our law-enforcers are absolutely legally ignorant. I believe that, in order to meet the European standards of human rights, it would be cheaper for Ukraine to renew completely the personnel of law-enforcing organs than to waste money and efforts for retraining, especially since the retraining seems to be hopeless. Maybe, this opinion is rather exaggerated, but it is not more exaggerated than the opinion, which is shared by almost all law-enforcers, that homeless children are criminals and have no other future except prisons and penal colonies. On the basis of this presumption of guilt, the militia officers try to fulfill the preventive punitive functions. Frequently they practice rather specific preventive measures, after which the minor suspects need the medical aid. To whom the boy should complaint against the militia officer, who squeezed a tube of glue on the boys head? To whom, if everybody, including the boy himself, is sure of his guilt? I believe that many law-enforcers would be surprised, if they would learn about the existence of the Convention on childrens rights or the Convention on human rights, which Conventions, by the way, are operating in Ukraine along with the national legislation. I hope that many arbitrary actions of militiamen are caused by the common legal ignorance or, to put it mildly, the narrow specialization of our law-enforcers. However, this fact may not excuse them.
The Lugansk rehabilitation center «Postup» for the children belonging to the risk group worked with 45 children, 30 of them were criminally active and were regularly detained by the officers of militia department in charge of children. The inquiry methods applied to these children should be described in separate (illustrated!) book. Scores of the methods of humiliation and suppression, from the banal beating to not less banal jamming of fingers in doors or handcuffs (the so-called «friendly handclasp»), are applied, not to mention the permanent psychological violence and threats. We conducted the poll and learned that more than 80% of the minors, who had been detained because of the suspicion of some crimes, underwent the violence in one or another form. We are in the desperate state: we have tens of childrens evidence, but are unable to do anything for the improvement of the existing situation. It is senseless to start criminal cases, because no one of these intimidated children would testify in court: they understand that this will complicate their future life. We cannot even publish these facts without the risk to get under the pressure of the militia system, which guards its corporative interests selflessly. These people would acknowledge their wrongfulness only after the order from higher organs. We also may not worsen the lives of the children, since we know that the «corporation» will not forgive them for this «revolt». Thus, this is a vicious circle, the guilty remain unpunished, and the impunity generates new violations.
At the same time, we must acknowledge that this situation would be impossible, if the majority of people would not approve, directly or indirectly, of such actions of law-enforcers. According to the results of the above-mentioned poll, about 40% of the respondents reckon that such measures are justified, and only 25% answered that this was a serious violation of human rights. These are the cultural traditions that have formed in our society. We believe that law-enforcers must have the authorities, noticeably exceeding the authorities necessary for the fulfillment of their social functions. We are giving the indirect consent for this arbitrariness. Nobody is surprised, when several militiamen recollect in a tram how they were beating a drunkard the day before. Any European would be shocked, but it is a cultural norm for us. However, this norm is a very serious obstacle in the way of progress of our society and can result in another dictatorship, instead of the establishment of the long-expected public order.
Common citizens also frequently apply violence to the minor offenders. The citizens conduct their own «investigations», during which the suspected undergo even crueler torture and cannot be sure of the inviolability of their life. Some of the minors, with whom the rehabilitation center «Postup» dealt, told about the cases, when such «investigators» tied them, naked, to a tree for several hours in winter demanding from them the confession and return of the stolen property. Some people held one of the boys by his legs lowering him from the 12th floor with his head down, other people tried to drown another minor in sewage for the theft of empty bottles. We know about many incidents astonishing with the senseless cruelty. Such incidents happen every day, but most often we know nothing about them, since the children carry these secrets to basements and heating mains, where they live. Frequently the homeless minors, both girls and boys, undergo sexual violence on the side of adults, but the victims very rarely complain to militia.
Thus, the «street» children form one of the most unprotected social groups, they are completely outcast by the society and cannot hope for anybodys help. Such attitude is criminal from all points of view. On the one hand, it is immoral and inhumane; on the other hand, these children will turn to the people inimical to the society, the people with the destructive life position generated by present social isolation.
Today everyone must acknowledge his own role in this process. Everyone is involved. It is time to think about the reasons of our passivity in the situation, where we can render the real help. Many people sympathize with homeless children, but too few people want to do something. Where are the tenderness and warmth, of which our people were always proud? The historical experience shows that a nation, where the economic values prevail over the ethical ones, is doomed to the social catastrophes and degeneration. If our ethical feelings are so deadened that we cannot realize the importance and inviolability of the indefeasible rights, which are given to everybody without any exceptions, then we should follow the example of more developed societies, where these values are absolute.
The decision of the power organs about not-giving the refugee status was acknowledged to be illegal
We want to present a resolution of the town court of Vinnitsa, which, in our opinion, will be useful to our readers, especially to those, who deal with the protection of refugees rights.
«PL» editorial board
Case No. 2-3086/03
IN THE NAME OF UKRAINE
21 July 2003
Leninskiy district court of Vinnitsa
Composition: chairman – I. Vishar
Secretary – N. Gudemchuk
The court considered the civil case after the complaints of Somali citizens A., B. and S. against the decision of the department in charge of the questions of nationalities and migration of the Vinnitsa oblast administration and issued the following
Somali citizens A., B. and S. turned to the court with the claim against the decision of the department in charge of the questions of nationalities and migration of the Vinnitsa oblast administration.
The complainers informed that on 26 June 2003 they turned to the department in charge of the questions of nationalities and migration of the Vinnitsa oblast administration with the appeal about giving them the status of refugees, and the department refused to give them such status, about what the corresponding decision was issued. The reason of the refusal was the violation by the declarants of the procedure of giving the status of refugees. The complainers believe that the refusal was illegitimate, since the defendant did not take into account the fact that in the beginning of 2003 they illegally left Somali in order to avoid persecutions and violation of human rights, which they could undergo in their native country. On 22 January 2003 the car, in which the Somali citizens were transported, was stopped in the Vinnitsa oblast by the officers of road militia. After this the illegal immigrants were detained and sent to the oblast distribution center. They do not know either Ukrainian, or Russian, or English languages, so they could not learn about the procedure of getting the refugee status. In the end of June representatives of Vinnitsa human rights protecting group visited them and told about the procedure.
At the court sitting the representative of the claimants supported the complaint referring to the circumstances stated in the complaint.
The representative of the defendant did not recognize the lawfulness of the complaint and told that the Somali citizens had been detained on 22 January 2003 in the Vinnitsa oblast. On 26 June 2003 they turned to the department with the appeals about the refugee status. Yet, the appeals were rejected, because of the expiration of the legal term for handing such appeals.
The court listened to the explanations of the parties, studied the case materials and came to the conclusion that the complaint was well-grounded and had to be satisfied on the basis of the following reasons.
According to the explanations given by Somali citizens A., B. and S. at the court sitting, in 2003 they illegally left Somali by sea in order to avoid persecutions and violations of human rights, which they underwent in the country of their origin. The people, who transported them, did not say to which country they were going.
On 22 January 2003 the officers of road militia stopped the car, in which the above-mentioned persons were transported. It became known later that this happened on the territory of the Vinnitsa oblast of Ukraine. After this the Somali citizens were detained and placed to the distribution center of the Vinnitsa oblast. Nobody of them knew Ukrainian or Russian languages. During the entire term of their stay in the distribution center nobody, neither militia officers nor other visitors, explained them the procedure of turning to the competent organs for getting the refugee status.
In June 2003 the Somali citizens were visited by representatives of Vinnitsa human rights protecting group, who were the executive partners of the Directorate of the UNO Supreme Commissar in the Vinnitsa oblast. On 24 June 2003 the representatives of Vinnitsa human rights protecting group explained to the citizens A., B. and S. the procedure of handing the appeal to the oblast department in charge of the questions of nationalities and migration. On 26 June such appeals were handed to the department.
However, on 26 June 2003 the claimants got the notification about the rejection of their appeals. The reason of the rejection was the violation, without the significant reasons, of the procedure of handing the appeal about the refugee status. The officials referred to part 8 Article 9 of the Law of Ukraine «On refugees». Yet, the court acknowledged these arguments to be invalid, because the appeals on the refugee status, which are handed after the expiration of the legally stipulated term, must be accepted in the cases, where the applicant could not turn with the appeal within the legal term because of the serious reasons, for example the detention for establishing the identity.
Provisions of Article 13 of the Convention on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms demand from the organs of state power to conduct the unbiased and thorough analysis of the appeals in order to prevent the violation of Article 3 of the Convention. The department in charge of the questions of nationalities and migration of the Vinnitsa oblast administration did not conduct such analysis, since the notification about the rejection of the appeal contained only formal reasons for the rejection.
Solving the conflict per se the court took into consideration the practices of the European Court of human rights, in particular, the case Djabari vs. Turkey of 27 July 2000 connected with deportation, prohibition of torture, right for effective defense in court and irreversibility of the damage endangering the claimant. The European Court considered this case and acknowledged that Turkey was guilty of the violation of Article 3 of the Convention on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms consisting in the attempt to deport the person seeking refuge from Turkey to Iran on the basis of exceeding the 5-day term of giving the appeal about refugee status.
According to Article 14 of the Law of Ukraine «On refugees», a person, which got the notification about the refusal to give the refugee status and did not exercise the right for the appeal against this refusal, must leave Ukraine within the term stipulated by law.
The fulfillment of the demands of this article may result in deportation of the complainers to their country. However, the return to Somali endangers their life and health, creates the opportunity of persecution and discrimination. So, the decision of the department in charge of the questions of nationalities and migration of the Vinnitsa oblast violates the rights of the claimants for the protection against torture, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment, which right is proclaimed in Article 3 of the Convention on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The court reckons that the mechanical application of the norm about the 5-day term of handing the appeal about the refuge contradicts the policy directed at the protection of fundamental rights stipulated by Article 3 of the Convention on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Article 23 of the Law of Ukraine «On refugees» reads that Ukraine cooperates with the Directorate of the UNO Supreme Commissar in charge of refugees and with other international organizations with the purpose to liquidate the reasons of the problems of refugees, to improve their material state and legal status.
Besides, according to Article 1 of the Convention «On refugee status», a person is regarded as a refugee, it there exists the well-grounded fear of persecutions because of race, religion, citizenship, belonging to some social group or political views, if this person stays outside the country, a citizen of which he/she is, cannot resort to the protection of this country or does not want to resort to such protection because of this fear.
The Convention «On refugee status» does not stipulate that a person, who did not turn to state organs with the appeal about the refuge within a certain term, is deprived of the right to be protected by the Convention.
Article 33 of the Convention «On refugee status» reads that the countries, which ratified this Convention, may not exile the refugees or to return them to the frontier, where a danger for their life or freedom exists.
On the basis of the above-stated arguments the court reckons that the department in charge of the questions of nationalities and migration of the Vinnitsa oblast violated the Convention «On refugee status», since Article 2 part 2 of the Law of Ukraine «On refugees» reads that in the cases, where an international agreement signed by Ukraine stipulates the rules, which does not conform with the rules contained in this Law, then the international rules must be applied.
So, on the basis of Article 3 of the Convention on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, Articles 1, 3 and 33 of the Convention «On refugee status» of 28 July 1951, Articles 2, 9, 14 and 23 of the Law of Ukraine «On refugees», Articles 15, 30, 62 and 248-1 of the Civil-Procedural Code of Ukraine, the court
To satisfy the claim.
To acknowledge the actions of the department in charge of the questions of nationalities and migration of the Vinnitsa oblast, which rejected the appeals of Somali citizens A., B. and S. about giving them the refugee status, as illegitimate.
To abolish the decision of the department in charge of the questions of nationalities and migration of the Vinnitsa oblast of 26 June 2003 about the rejection of the appeals of Somali citizens A., B. and S. about giving them the refugee status.
To oblige the department in charge of the questions of nationalities and migration of the Vinnitsa oblast to accept the appeals of Somali citizens A., B. and S. about giving them the refugee status.
The appeal against the court decision may be handed to the appeal court of the Vinnitsa oblast within one month.
Sitting of the Committee in charge of human rights, national minorities and interethnic relations
The Committee in charge of human rights, national minorities and interethnic relations conducted the sitting «On application and execution of the Law «On refugees»». The participants listened to the speech delivered by Yu. Sukhov, a deputy of the head of the State Committee in charge of nationalities and migration. MPs and representatives of the organs of executive power, such as the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Security Service of Ukraine, etc., took part in the discussion.
Head of the Committee Gennadiy Udovenko declared that, because of the peculiarities of the geopolitical position of Ukraine, our country was situated in the very center of modern migration flows. Giving the refugee status and rendering aid to the persons, who were acknowledged as refugees in Ukraine, is one of the main directions of the state policy. As early as in 1993 the first Law «On refugees» was adopted, which gave the opportunity to protect 5200 persons from the persecutions. This fact had a positive effect on the international image of Ukraine. 2900 out of these 5200 persons live in Ukraine now.
In order to agree the provisions of the Law «On refugees» with the norms of international right, new version of the Law was prepared. The Supreme Rada of Ukraine approved this version on 21 June 2001.
The UNO committee of human rights appreciated this normative act and pointed out the high level of reforming the national legislation in this sphere. Ukraine ratified the UNO Convention on refugees status of 1951 and the Protocol of 1967.
More than two years of practical application of the new edition of the law revealed a number of drawbacks, which were noticed not only by the corresponding state organs of Ukraine, but also by the Directorate of the UNO Supreme Commissar in charge of refugees. The Directorate expressed its position concerning some norms of the Law in a separate document.
Taking into account the information prepared by the State Committee of Ukraine in charge of nationalities and migration and the speeches of MPs, members of the Committee and representatives of the central organs of executive power, the Committee took the following decisions:
- the information of the State Committee of Ukraine in charge of nationalities and migration should be taken into account;
- the State Committee of Ukraine in charge of nationalities and migration should consider the position of the Directorate of the UNO Supreme Commissar in charge of refugees concerning the temporary restrictions on handing the appeals about the status of refugee (three days after the crossing the frontier. – Editors note);
- the Committee in charge of human rights, national minorities and interethnic relations should turn to Prime-Minister of Ukraine V. Yanukovich with the request to consider the position of the Directorate of the UNO Supreme Commissar in charge of refugees and to introduce the corresponding amendments to the Law of Ukraine «On refugees».
Secretariat of the Council of Ukrainian human rights protecting organizations
Ukrainian network of business information LIGABusinessInform conducted the poll
Up to 28 October 250 persons took part in the poll. Two questions were put to the users of the network:
Did you come across the illegal detention of physical persons by militiamen?
46,6% of the respondents answered that they were detained;
46,6% answered that their relatives or acquaintances were detained;
3,2% knew only about the facts of legal detentions;
12,4% did not come across.
What was the result of the illegal detention?
19,2% answered that they were released without any problems;
40,4% were released for some money;
19,2% were released after some beating;
4,0% were condemned to the administrative fine;
3,2% were condemned to the administrative arrest;
0,0% were condemned to the reforming works;
12,4% were not detained.
Some of the respondents answered the question «For what you were detained (according to what Article)?»
The following Articles were mentioned in the responses: 172 of the Administrative Code (violation of the rules of using the measuring equipment), 173 of the AC (petty hooliganism), 178 of the AC (taking alcoholic drinks in public places and appearance in public places in a state of alcoholic intoxication), 185 of the AC (malicious resistance to the legal orders or the demands of a militiaman, a member of public squad for protecting the public order or a serviceman), 342 part 3 of the Criminal Code (resistance to a representative of law-enforcing organs, a member of public squad for protecting the public order and state frontier, or a serviceman).
Other responses: suspicion of a theft, souteneurism (by mistake), storage of narcotic drugs; suspicion of committing an offence, laughter in a street, «for the illegal transportation of an extruder», «for nothing», «I do not know».
Several respondents told about their detentions in details. In what follows we will quote some of these stories.
«I was detained since I allegedly looked like a man, who swindled the wife of an MP (now an official of the Presidents Administration). As a result I was condemned to the administrative arrest for the resistance to militiamen, which, naturally, was a lie».
«The detention was carried out in a morning in my flat by a detective and his deputy, who referred to the all-Ukrainian criminal investigation department. During the arrest they checked only my name, second name and surname. I spent the whole day in a cell for especially dangerous criminals. Later it became known that there existed another man with the same name, second name and surname, and of the same age. Yet, he was a Konotop dweller, and he had neither a sister nor a brother. The militiamen even did not have the photo and fingerprints of the wanted criminal. Moreover, all this story began from the robbery in Konotop, when this man was detained red-handed, and all local militia knew him «personally»!!!»
We are curious, whether the results of the poll will be passed to the authors of the governmental program of the creation of positive image of Ukrainian militia in the Ukrainian society? It should be also taken into account that, as a rule, the participants of the Internet polls are the people, who occupy not the lowest places in our society.
After the materials of LIGABusinessinform
Prosecutor of the Crimea made public the data on the struggle with the «uniformed turnskins»
In the current year the prosecutors office and other law-enforcing organs of the Crimea compiled and directed to court 132 protocols on the disclosed facts of corruption. A correspondent of ForUm communicates that this information was given by Crimean prosecutor Aleksandr Dobrorez in his interview to the newspaper «Krymskaya Pravda». At that 10 protocols on corruption concerned the state officials of 1-4 categories, 9 of these protocols were considered by courts. As a result, a deputy of Simferopol town mayor, the head of the Crimean Property Fund of the Leninskiy district of Simferopol and other persons were brought to administrative responsibility.
By the words of Aleksandr Dobrorez, the consideration of 7 protocols by courts resulted in the decisions about the dismissal of the guilty from their posts. All decisions were executed. The guilty also recompensed «the greater part» of the damage inflicted with the corruption actions. The prosecutor of the Crimea also told about some measures for the liquidation of corruption in the organs of state power and law-enforcing organs. He mentioned the names of the bribe-takers, among them: several militia officers, the judge of the local court of the Zheleznodorozhny district of Simferopol, investigator of the prosecutors office of the Belogorsk district of the Crimea, officers of the Krasnoperekopsk tax militia.
Material was sent by Roman Romanov
Appeal of soldiers mothers of Ukraine to the President of Ukraine, the Supreme Rada of Ukraine and the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine
Respected President, MPs and Ministers!
We are turning to you again in the connection with the problem of legal and social protection of the mothers, whose sons perished or died during the military service.
These boys were mobilized by state to the armed forces being young and healthy, but, unfortunately, it appeared to be impossible to preserve their lives.
In 1991-1992 the laws were adopted, which, at last, stated that the parents of the servicemen, who had perished or died during the military service, had to obtain the compensation from the state in the form of the increase of pension for 24 hryvnas, 50% reduction of payments for living accommodation and communal services, decrease of taxes, etc. All this was called, as usual, privileges, but really this is only a scanty compensation to the parents, who lost their son – the potential helper and breadwinner in their old age.
In the USA the life of a servicemen is insured with the sum equal to 350,000 USD; in Russia the parents get the doubled pension, must not pay taxes, they also have privileges in payments for communal services, use of public transport and many others. And in Ukraine the parents of the perished soldiers suffer indignity from the officials, that is from you!
Local military commissariats even do not give the parents the certificates reading that their son perished in the army: allegedly, there are no forms of these certificates. I do not believe that Ukraine is not able to provide the parents with these documents. The military commissariats must give such certificates together with the coffins of dead boys and with the words: «Forgive us, mother! We took your son to the army, but, unfortunately, we could not preserve his life. So, here is the certificate, and the State will care of you now».
Two years ago, during the meeting with soldiers mothers in the settlement of Goncharivsk, the Chernigiv oblast, you said to us: «I am bowing before you, mothers, before your courage, before your kindness! I am promising that the State will care for you, I will control this personally!» And what are the results? The mothers are deprived even of these paltry privileges, which they have had! Recently the new instruction on taxes has been issued, and this instruction reminds that this category has the privileges in paying taxes.
Three years ago, when you adopted the Law on budget, you deprived the parents of perished servicemen of the privileges in paying for living accommodations and communal services, these privileges were not mentioned separately in Article 58. One year later these privileges were renewed, but local officials ignored this renewal, since, they said, there were no orders about that.
We know that the authors of the draft of the Law about the budget for the next year forgot about the parents of the perished soldiers again. You are promising to render the privileges to the handicapped and WW2 veterans, and this is correct. Yet, although these mothers have hands and feet, they also have the bleeding wound instead of heart, the painful and incurable wound. Nothing can replace the son for a mother, since sons life is priceless! The privileges that were stipulated in the Ukrainian laws were rather a moral support, not a material one. And now you want to forsake the parents alone with their disaster!
We know about the difficult economic situation in Ukraine, but we want to say: the craped mothers will not save the Ukrainian budget! The budget would not grow substantially, if the mothers would now pay taxes and full sums for communal services and small flats.
So, we are turning to you with the appeals:
Please, redeem your promise to «control personally the state care for the parents of the perished soldiers».
Include, please the separate line into the Law on budget, which will envisage the privileges for the parents of the perished servicemen, and do not forget about these privileges when adopting the laws on budget and other laws on social and legal protection of citizens! We know from our own grief experience: if you would replace the privileges with the individual aid, then the privileges would be liquidated at once, and the mothers would not live to get the individual aid…
Do not be afraid that the mothers will bring Ukraine to financial ruin, if they would have some social protection. Fortunately, the number of such mothers is not too great, 200-300 persons in every oblast. And do not entrust the regional authorities to realize this financial aid, since that would mean that mothers would obtain nothing again… Explain, please, to these local officials that the dead boys will not return to life, so there is no need to demand every year the numerous certificates that a mother is still alive and her son is still lying in the grave…
Despite the fact that it is impossible to bear the humiliations and sufferings inflicted to the mothers both by our legislation and the local authorities, we hope that you will consider our entreaty, and these painful questions will solved once and for all.
The appeal was adopted on 12 September 2003 at the sitting of the Coordination Council of the Organization of Soldiers Mothers of Ukraine.
Our contact addresses and phone numbers:
Dnepropetrovsk branch of the OSMU
4, Shcherban St.
Phones/fax: (0562) 68-52-02, 31-83-51
Kharkov oblast union of soldiers mothers
Phone: (0572) 14-31-71
E-mail: [email protected]
The appeal was signed by:
1. Taisiya Shkrium, a deputy of the head of the Organization of Soldiers Mothers of Ukraine, Dnepropetrovsk
2. Nina Lysogor, a deputy of the head of the OSMU, the head of the OSM of Dneprodzerzhinsk
3. Irina Bakliukova, the head of the Dnepropetrovsk oblast branch of the OSMU, Dnepropetrovsk
4 Maria Shutaliova, a co-chairman of the Kharkov oblast union of soldiers mothers, Kharkov
5. Maya Kriukova, a member of the Board of the KhOUSM, Kharkov
6. Ludmila Onolova, a deputy of the head of the Kirovograd oblast organization of soldiers mothers, Kirovograd
7. Ludmila Bykova, a co-chairman of the KhOUSM, Kharkov.
8. Svetlana Kasyan, the head of the Cherkassy oblast committee of soldiers mothers, Cherkassy
9. Stalina Solovey, the head of the Chernigiv oblast organization of soldiers mothers, Chernigiv
10. Larisa Kozhar, a deputy of the head of the Chernigiv town organization of soldiers mothers, Chernigiv
11. Evgeniya Gladunova, a member of the organizational committee of the Rivne town organization of soldiers mothers, Rivne
12. Larisa Simonovich, a member of the organizational committee of the Rivne town OSM, Rivne
13. Raisa Kladko, the OSM, Rivne
14. Lydia Bulavchuk, the head of the district organization of soldiers mothers, Kalush
15. Lesia Kirilovich, a deputy of the head of the OSM, Kalush
16. Darya Shchesiuk, the head of the Lviv oblast union of soldiers mothers, Lviv
17. Galina Pologrudova, a deputy of the head of the Sevastopol OSM, Sevastopol
18. Lydia Zagaynova, the OSM, Sevastopol
19. Valentina Danilenko, the OSM, Donetsk
20. Olga Moroz, the OSM, Donetsk
21. Lydia Rybalko, the OSMU, Zaporozhye
22.Olga Bezkorovayna, the OSMU, Kherson
23. Galina Litvin, the OSMU, Odessa
The Center «Legal aid to the detained» began to work (press-release)
On 1 October 2003 the Center «Legal aid to the detained» began to work in Chernigiv. The project is realized with the assistance of the Center of social welfare «Dobrochyn» and the militia directorate of the Chernigiv oblast; the financial aid to the center is granted by the International Foundation «Vidrodjennia».
The goal of the activities of the Center is the prevention of the violations of human rights and the restoration of the rights of the persons, who were detained by law-enforcing organs, during the first 72 hours after the detention, by rendering twenty-four-hour gratuitous legal and other needed aid: services of lawyers, consultations on legal and procedural questions, mediation, psychological aid to the detained and his relatives.
It is planned to conduct two educational seminars for the officers of law-enforcing organs and judges with the aim to increase the level of their legal knowledge.
The Center works around the clock. The phone of the worker-in-charge: 4-34-56,8-050-330-14-06.
E-mail: [email protected]
Public hearings on the protection of property rights of the owners of land shares
Recently the public hearings «The protection of property rights of the owners of land shares of the Chernigiv oblast» were held in the town of Priluki, the Chernigiv oblast. The hearings were organized by the Chernigiv public committee for human rights protection, Chernigiv oblast state administration and the Priluki district state administration. The financial support was rendered by the project «Network of public activities in Ukraine» of the ISC/UCAN and the USA agency for the international development (USAID).
The owners of shares, heads of agricultural enterprises and representatives of state establishments from five districts of the oblast were present at the hearings. The participants discussed the question concerning the land reform in Ukraine, as well as the ways and opportunities of the protection of the rights of the owners of land shares. The debates were also devoted to the self-organization of landowners with the aim of the collective protection of their property rights.
All speakers agreed that the questions concerning the property in land were one of the most important problems in the life of the Ukrainian society, that these questions demanded the rapt attention both of the state and of the society as a whole. Many of the speakers pointed out that the majority of landowners were very passive in their attitude to their own property rights, frequently they merely did not understand the opportunities that they would obtain owing to the land reform.
The described action was conducted in the framework of the project «Promotion and protection of property rights of the owners of land shares in Ukraine». The project should promote the development of the institutes of civil society in the Chernigiv oblast, connected with the agrarian reform, with the intention to protect the rights of the owners of land shares, increasing the activity of this group of citizens and of their role in taking the decisions by the organs of state power of Ukraine.
Vladimir Ponomariov has died
Vladimir Ponomariov, one of the oldest members of the Kharkov group for human rights protection, has died. If he lived 40 days more, he would be 65…
Vladimir was a very modest, companionable, kind and honest man, he was a typical “child of the 20th party congress”. Today everybody, who knew him, in Moscow, Israel, America and, of course, Kharkov, is deeply upset with this bereavement.
In the end of the 60s Vladimir got to the maelstrom of events: on the one side, the idea of the “socialism with human face” appeared, and on the other side, Brezhnevs camarilla intensified the struggle with those, who had such face. The struggle was very severe both inside the country (cases of Siniavski, Daniel, Ginzburg, Orlov, Nekipelov, Chornovil and many others) and outside (Czechoslovakia).
Vladimir Ponomariov was one of the first distributors of samizdat in Kharkov. The punishment was inevitable…
Vladimir was fired from the Ukrainian Physico-technical Institute, where he worked. Later there were shadowing, arrest, unjust court and three years in concentration camps. His wife was dismissed from the post of university lecturer, and his son was prohibited to attend the military department of the Kharkov Institute of radio electronics. After the release Ponomariov worked as a fitter.
Of course, the independent Ukraine rehabilitated V. Ponomariov, and, at last, he could live a full life. Unfortunately, the fate decreed otherwise, and that is bitter and grievous…
The Kharkov group for human rights protection
In memory of Marek Nowicki
We have learned the terrible news: Marek Nowicki died. We knew that he was seriously ill, but he hoped and believed that doctors would treat him, and we would see him again: radiant with intellect and talent, lively, amusing and ironic. Alas, it is impossible now…
Nowicki amazed me during our first meeting in Moscow in June 1990. He amazed me with his brilliant mind, sober opinions and aspiration to practical results. Whatever you are doing, he used to say, you must achieve the success, maybe a little one, but doubtless. There were many other meetings later, many discussions and disputes. It was very interesting to dispute with Marek. Yet, we always had too little time…
All people are irreplaceable, but Marek is irreplaceable most of all… He worked hardly, he taught people how to preserve the human dignity and how to oppose the violence on the side of the state. Hundreds, or maybe even thousands of people regard themselves as his pupils. He was an outstanding lecturer, he was able to explain the most complicated things lucidly and simply
I believe that Marek was a happy man. He loved and was loved, he achieved much and he was respected by the enormous quantity of people throughout the world. We will always remember him.
Evhen Zakharov, the Kharkov group for human rights protection, «Memorial»
The death of Marek Nowicki shocked us deeply.
We were the pupils of Marek. We are indebted to him and the Helsinki Foundation not only for our knowledge in the sphere of human rights, but also for our new, optimistic perception of the world in the epoch of dramatic transformation of the totalitarian regimes into democratic states. He was a model of moral purity and ethics in the society of cynics, an inspiring example of the active work for peaceful transformation of the violent world into the world, where dignity and equal rights exist for everybody.
With his death we lost one of the most brilliant enthusiasts of humanization of the post-Soviet space.
Nikolay Kozyrev, the chairman of the board of the Public committee for human rights protection
Ludmila Sokolenko, the secretary of the committee
I learned the news about the death of Marek Nowicki on Sunday. I knew that he was ill, but the grievous news astonished me all the same.
I cannot get rid of the feeling that something has changed in the world, something very important and essential. The world itself has changed. Marek is dead. It is difficult to believe in that…
The comprehension that all people are mortal cannot mollify our pain and sorrow. From now on Marek will live only in our memory and in films created by him. Yet, we hope that he will also live in our deeds, since we could not do many things, if we would not know Marek. That is why he still remains with us and will remain with us forever.
Aleksandr Bukalov, «The Donetsk Memorial», Donetsk, Ukraine
Marek Nowicki, one of the most famous human rights protectors, has died
Marek Nowicki, the Head of the Board of the Helsinki foundation of human rights, one of the most famous human rights protectors and teachers of human rights, died in Warsaw on 10 October. He was 56.
Marek Nowicki was an atomic physicist by the education, in 1972-1981 he worked at the faculty of mathematics and physics of the Warsaw University. In the 60s he was one of the founders of the students alpinist movement of Poland, later – the head of the Federation of academic alpinist clubs and a member of the Board of the Union of alpinists.
In 1980-1981 Nowicki worked in the Mazowsza regional branch of the Independent self-rule union «Solidarnost»: he was the head of the Mediation commission and, later, the Chief of the detachment of technical organization of protest actions in this region. He organized and directed street demonstrations, prepared the plans of strikes. After the introduction of martial law he was interned to Belolenke, Zalenza and Kielcy-Piaski.
After the release, in the 80s, Marek Nowicki founded the underground printing shop «Neutrino», he also worked as the editor-in-chief of the underground quarterly magazine «Law and order. Letters about right and lawlessness», where he published his articles under the penname «Man».
In December 1982 M. Nowicki became one of the founders of the underground Helsinki committee in Poland. He was a co-author of the first reports of the Helsinki committee concerning the violations of human rights and freedoms in Poland, which reports were passed to the PACE. After the collapse of communism in Poland the members of the Helsinki committee created the Helsinki foundation of human rights in Poland. Marek Nowicki headed this foundation since 1990. Now this foundation is one of the most experienced and effectively working non-governmental organizations in Europe.
More than once Marek Nowicki was invited as an expert on human rights by such international organizations as the PACE and UNO, as well as by the commissions of both chambers of Polish Parliament. He took part in the creation of the Charter of rights and freedoms, which had the essential influence on the Polish Constitution. Nowicki wrote a number of articles and film scripts on the history and philosophy of human rights, he also was one of the authors of educational programs. Marek Nowicki initiated the wide enlightenment activities connected with human rights, he was a founder of the School of human rights of the Helsinki foundation.
Until the very end of his life Marek Nowicki delivered lectures in Russia, Central Asia and Caucasus. Owing to his energy and charisma he became a symbol of peaceful struggle for human rights.
After the information of the Helsinki foundation of human rights