Civic organizations: freedom of peaceful assembly is under threat of extinction
The right to peaceful assembly in Ukraine is under threat of extinction. On average in Ukraine for every 100 protests, there are 19 repressive measures. In 2012 the authorities tried to get court bans on 358 peaceful gatherings, and in 90% of the cases they succeeded. 124 people faced administrative liability “for infringing the rules for organizing and holding peaceful gatherings”.
The reason is simple – the Ukrainian authorities and the courts apply legislation from the USSR of the 1980s and arbitrarily interpret the Constitution. They ban peaceful gatherings largely on absurd pretexts, for example, “because the gathering could harm the country’s image”, “the city authorities have set aside a separate place”, etc.
Only adoption of a liberal Law on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly in keeping with European standards can change the situation.
To this end a partnership “For Freedom of Peaceful Assembly” has been created in Kyiv. It has 24 NGO members including the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union; the Centre for Political and Legal Reform and the International Renaissance Foundation.
The partnership’s aim is to get a liberal Law on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly in keeping with European standards, as well as positive amendments to other laws and subordinate legislation establishing the responsibility of participants in peaceful gatherings and the right to court protection.
The members of the partnership will also carry out awareness-raising measures among members of the public, judges, members of bodies of local self-government , the law enforcement agencies and officials. They also plan to defend participants in peaceful gatherings and provide them with legal consultation.
The official site of the partnership can be seen here: http://piket.helsinki.org.ua/
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