In April 2017, the procedure for the election of the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights was initiated, during which three candidates for this position were nominated by the political parties.
In violation of the Law of Ukraine “On the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights”, the election of the Commissioner did not take place within the 20-day term established by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.
At the same time, a scenario of changing the order and method of voting for candidates for the post of Commissioner for Human Rights was implemented within the Parliament’s walls. It was shifted from the procedure of secret voting ballots to open procedure with the help of the “Rada” system. Appropriate amendments were supported in the first reading.
However, the draft law on the change of the procedure for the election of the Commissioner was cynically included in the draft amendments to the Law “On the Constitutional Court of Ukraine”, while the necessity of considering these proposals by the Committee of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on human rights, national minorities, and interethnic relations was deliberately ignored. This Committee was denied the opportunity to consider the proposals.
Today, July 13, 2017, during the second reading of the draft law on amendments to the Law “On the Constitutional Court of Ukraine”, Olha Chervakova, MP of Ukraine, voiced the proposal to preserve the procedure of secret ballot for candidates for the position of the Commissioner, which was voted and supported by 227 MPs.
However, the Apparatus of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and individual MPs were manipulating the content of the supported proposal. The reason for it was that Mrs. Chervakova confused the number of the amendment during her speech. But it is clear that the MPs focused on the content of the speech, and not on the number of the amendment.
We consider this is unacceptable to interpret the vote, in which most MPs have clearly expressed in favor of maintaining a secret ballot procedure for candidates for the post of the Commissioner. It should also be recalled that open voting contradicts the Paris Principles of the United Nations on national human rights institutions, it is aimed at increasing the Commissioner’s dependence on the political situation, destroying the constitutional status of the independence of the institution of the Commissioner for Human Rights and the legitimacy of the elected candidate.
We demand from the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada not to allow the falsification of the will of the MPs and to keep the procedure of secret ballot for candidates for the position of the Commissioner adopted in the law.
Arkadiy Buschenko, Executive Director of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
Yevhen Zakharov, Director of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group
Yuliia Bashkirova, NGO"Centre of civil assistance"Do!", 18 July 2017, 14:37