On March 24, 2017, the Parliament of Ukraine passed amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On Corruption Prevention”. They, inter alia, provide for the obligation to submit electronic declarations by representatives of NGOs and all those entities, cooperating with NGOs.
The relevant point has to be mentioned completely.
The obligation to submit electronic declarations apply to individuals, who:
“… receive funds, assets as part of the implementation of programs (projects) in Ukraine of technical or other, including irrevocable, aid in the field of corruption prevention and combating (both directly and through third parties or in any other way, provided for the appropriate program (project);
Systematically, during a year, perform works, provide services on the implementation of standards in the field of anti-corruption policy, monitoring of anti-corruption policy in Ukraine, preparation of proposals on the formation, implementation of such a policy, if funding (payment) of works and services is carried out directly or through third parties at the expense of technical or other, including irrevocable, aid in the field of corruption prevention and combating;
or are heads or belong to a highest managing body, other managing bodies of public associations and other non-business companies, engaged in related to corruption prevention, combating, implementation of standards in anti-corruption policy, monitoring of anti-corruption policy in Ukraine, preparation of proposals on the formation, implementation of such a policy and/or participate, engage in activities related to corruption prevention, combating”.
We stress that the provisions of the law violate the principle of legal certainty. The definitions mentioned in this Law and other legislation do not allow to determine what is covered by the term “technical aid“, what projects are those that should be considered as works and services “on the implementation of standards in the field of anti-corruption policy, monitoring of anti-corruption policy in Ukraine, preparation of proposals on the formation, implementation of such a policy.” Because of this uncertainty, this law risks becoming a tool for arbitrary and selective application.
Moreover, corruption prevention and combating has not been distinguished as a specific type of activity, and is almost always one of the components of most NGOs’ work. It is hard to imagine an organization that claims to promote corruption through their activities. Therefore, the activities of each organization dedicated to advocating for changes to the legal system can find elements of “anti-corruption” activities.
Thus, the law extends the obligation to declare on all non-governmental organizations and entities that collaborate with them. We believe that the provision was adopted in order to allow the pressure on public associations, complicate or prevent their activities, particularly aimed at fighting corruption.
Furthermore, the law makes it intentionally in a manner to leave a space for its arbitrary and selective application that actually creates fertile ground for corruption.
We believe that this provision is harmful to the development of civil society and corruption prevention, which the law is aimed at.
We demand from the President of Ukraine to use his constitutional right and to impose a veto on the mentioned law that was given to him to sign on March 27, 2017.
The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
The Kharkiv Institute for Social Researches
The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group
Background photo – the official website of the President of Ukraine