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Human rights defenders gather near the Parliament demanding abolition of e-declarations for activists (Photo)

On 19 March the action “Activists are not targets!” was held near the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine!

The initiative gathered over 30 human rights activists. Among them are representatives of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, Human Rights Information Center, Center for Civil Liberties, Centre of Policy and Legal Reforms, Reanimation Package of Reforms and other non-governmental organizations.

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The participants lined up dressed as huge targets. This was meant to demonstrate the rally’s main message – that introduction of electronic tax returns has made civil society activists targets for the authorities.

Last spring, members of the Parliament amended the Law “On Prevention of Corruption”, forcing public activists and citizens “involved in the implementation of measures related to the prevention and combating of corruption” to submit electronic tax returns as civil servants do.

According to human rights defenders, any person that attends an anti-corruption rally, or even today’s demonstration, could be considered an anti-corruption activist. At the same time, the law lacks clear definitions, while failure to adhere to it leads to criminal liability.

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Olexander Pavlichenko, Executive Director of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, considers imposing e-declarations on activists a violation of human rights. “No other European country requires activists to declare their property,” he said.

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