How Were Human Rights Violated in 2014?
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74 experts of human rights organisations from all regions of Ukraine participated in drawing up of the Report “Human Rights in Ukraine 2014” which provides a professional assessment of observance by the state of human rights in the situation of armed conflict, economic crisis and large-scale reform processes. The information contained in the report is annually used by the European Court, the US Government, the European Commission and other international institutions.
The main negative aspects outlined by the experts of the non-governmental sector are as follows:
‐ The governmental bodies failed to provide an efficient assistance to the citizens of Ukraine who suffered as a result of the illegal annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the armed conflict in Donbas;
‐ The process of collection and recording of the required evidence of crimes against humanity and war crimes is carried out by law enforcement agencies very slowly, which jeopardizes the prospect of consideration of the cases regarding these crimes in the International Criminal Court;
‐ Virtually all reforms in the sphere of human rights – criminal justice, Ministry of Internal Affairs, educational and medical – are being implemented without the due public assessment and without taking into account the international practice, which results in many drawbacks in the package of reform bills;
‐ The state demonstrates inability to efficiently use the expertise proposed by international and European institutions to solve the existing problems in the area of human rights protection.
The mentioned negative trends resulted in over 90 petitions filed by the experts of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union with the European Court of Human Rights and about 110 strategic litigations conducted at the national level at the same time in 2014.
At the same time, human right defenders note the importance of adoption of progressive amendments to the Penal Execution Code which contributed to the openness of penal institutions, approval of the Strategy of Development of internal affairs agencies, establishment of reforms expert advisory groups at ministries, and support of volunteer activities at the national level.
RECOMMENDATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHT DEFENDERS
Experts state that the vast majority of human rights violations took place, among other things, due to the absence of serious constraints and control mechanisms in the government and the absence of legislative support of fundamental rights and freedoms. Therefore, it is proposed to implement the following measures, including:
Drafting a new Constitution, ensuring public control over law enforcement agencies, reforming the criminal justice system, and expanding the scope of free legal assistance provided. In general, the authors of the report provided officials with over 20 specific proposals for improvement of the human rights situation. Yet the question remains – will the people in power notice them?
The event was carried out with the assistance of the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and the Open Society Institute Foundation in cooperation with the Open Society Foundations Human Rights Initiative.
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