Valeriia Lutkovska: “Without observance of human rights there will be no European future in Ukraine”

13/04/2017 11:30

Such a conviction was expressed by the Ombudsman of Ukraine at the round table “Second year of realization of the National Strategy in the sphere of human rights: what have changed?”

The Ombudsman of Ukraine assured the attendees that a visa-free regime with EU countries depends, in particular, on the status of human rights observance in Ukraine.

“Before taking such a decision that is fateful for Ukraine, EU defined grounds for termination of the visa-free regime with any country which got it. And one of the main grounds is human rights violations. From my side, I would like to mention that for the last half a year every delegation from the European institutions asked me about the implementation of the National Human Rights Strategy. And I do not know, who will take responsibility and lie to European institutions that this National Strategy has been duly implemented”, – Valeriya Lutkovska stated.

According to the Ombudsperson, so far, unfortunately, one cannot say that activities stipulated by the National Strategy and the Action Plan have been fully implemented.

“When we talk about the National Strategy it is about the future of all Ukrainians – both when it comes to how their rights are respected in the country and how their European future is ensured in general; because without observance of human rights there will be no European future for Ukraine”, – believes the Ukrainian Ombudsperson.

In opinion of the Ombudsperson, one of the reasons why implementation of the Action Plan under the National Strategy has been inefficient is a lack of understanding of its relevance by the Ukrainian authorities.

As an example, Valeriia Lutkovska mentioned a situation with the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine which under the Action Plan had to develop a regulation on actions of law-enforcement officers during peaceful gatherings. The Ministry delays the adoption of such a document referring to absence of the law on peaceful gathering, despite the fact that there is a relevant constitutional provision which can be applied directly. Thus, peaceful gatherings continue to be conducted, but in Ukraine law-enforcement authorities’ practice in this field has been absolutely diverse. This situation leads to a significant number of human rights violations.

 “It proves that as for today there is really no will to seriously think about the European future of our country. I emphasize once again that we, representatives of the Ombudsman Office, civil society organizations and human rights experts are not ones who only criticize the Government. We are ready to help”, – Valeriia Lutkovska said.

Executive director of Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union (UHHRU) Arkadii Bushchenko, in its turn, informed that civil society is interested in identifying factors that hinder an efficient implementation of the National Human Rights Strategy and the Action Plan.

“We seek to understand in which direction to move further, want to share ideas and correct our vision in order to understand what we do wrong. Maybe, we should shift to the next stage of cooperation with governmental structures so that it is not only a monitoring of implementation of the Strategy and reports on how it is implemented, but also additional  activities – dialogue, cooperation, joint movement, whereas we think that this document is of paramount importance for our country”, – Arkadii Bushchenko said in his open speech.

Deputy Director of the USAID Democracy and Governance Office Daniel Ryan also emphasized that observance of human rights is linked to the European future of Ukraine.

“Efficient implementation of the National Strategy in the sphere of human rights requires concerted efforts: financing and implementation by the Government; participation in further active monitoring of its implementation by the Ombudsman Office and civil society; deep awareness on human rights by the Ukrainian society in general. From our side, we promise further provision of technical and expert support in this process”, – assured Daniel Ryan.

According to the Public Platform for Monitoring of the National Strategy’s Implementation, as of December, 2016, 33% of activities (100 ones) were not implemented at all, 13% (38 ones) were partly implemented, 33% (101 ones) were in the process of implementation. Ministries and departments managed to implement only 21% (65 ones) of activities stipulated by the Action Plan for 2016.

Participants of the Public Platform are convinced that the Action Plan under the National Strategy needs to be amended. That is why it was decided that public authorities jointly with civil society will update the document following new challenges to the country.