Mr. Nils Muižnieks: "I consider this a regrettable development, which has the potential to undermine the independence and efficient functioning of the national Ombudsman institution"

03/06/2015 12:25

The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Mr.  Nils Muižnieks declared this thesis in the letter to the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Mr.Volodymyr Groysman.

I am writing to you in connection with the information I received recently related to the Ombudsman Office in Ukraine. I understand that certain members of the Verkhovna Radahave initiated a legislative proposal aimed at annulling the previous decision by the Parliament - dating back to 2012 - about the appointment of the current post-holder, Ms. Lutkovska, as the Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights. I consider this a regrettable development, which has the potential to undermine the independence and efficient functioning of the national Ombudsman institution. I therefore take this opportunity to draw your attention, as well as that of other members of the Ukrainian Parliament, to the well-established principles pertaining to the functioning of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) – it is said in the letter of Mr. Nils Muižnieks.

In his letter the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights reminded that in his report on Ukraine published in March, 2014 he underlined that the effectiveness of Ombudsmen institutions in the Council of Europe member states is in many respects linked to the degree of independence they are able to enjoy and the attitude of the authorities towards them. In particular, in his report he stated that “the authorities should respect the integrity and independence of the Ombudsperson institution, so that it can play an effective and meaningful role in promoting awareness of European and international human rights standards and norms and foster their effective observance in practice for the benefit of all people in Ukraine”.

Mr. Nils Muižnieks in the address declared necessity to observe paragraphs 10 and 12 of the Belgrade Principles in the Relationship between NHRIs and Parliaments (adopted in Belgrade, Serbia, on February 22-23, 2012), which provide that parliaments should secure the independence of a NHRI by incorporating in the founding law a provision on immunity for actions taken in an official capacity.

Mr. Nils Muižnieks also informed the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine that on June 29 the current year he plans to visit Ukraine and would like to meet with the Chairman of the Parliament and leaders of political factions in parliament, to discuss these and other issues, such as judicial and police reforms, the situation with internally displaced persons and the humanitarian situation in the East of Ukraine.