Police under Public Scrutiny
From 7 to 21 November 2011 around 50 Ukrainian NGOs will be taking part in a nationwide campaign entitled “The Police under Control” during which civic activists will carry out human rights monitoring of the police. The results of the monitoring will be used in drawing up recommendations to the Ministry of Internal Affairs [MIA] and Cabinet of Ministers on how to improve cooperation between the police and members of the public.
The campaign is being coordinated by the Association of Ukrainian Association of Human Rights Monitors on Law Enforcement. The Association has put together guidelines for public monitoring and carried out training courses for NGO activists and journalists.
The Head of the Association, Oleh Martynenko, warns that the situation is getting worse each day. This, he says, can be seen from the assessments made by human rights specialists, sociological studies, as well as from the day-to-day reports in the media. Police officers frequently fail to observe the law – sometimes through ignorance, although more often because they feel they can act with impunity, that there is no scrutiny from the public. This two-week campaign, he stresses, is specifically aimed at initiating such permanent public monitoring.
The monitoring will be carried out in all regions of Ukraine. The focus will be first and foremost on services and police divisions which have direct contact with the public: police patrols; police stations; the traffic police etc.
The Association’s Executive Director, Vadim Pyvovarov, stresses that nobody can feel certain that they won’t fall victim to police lawlessness, with the problem in one way or another affecting all social layers of society. One of the main aims of the monitoring campaigns, he explains, is to unite civic activists into one network where they can share information, experience, and react swiftly to infringements identified.
The Association is also running a competition for photographs, videos and publicist material regarding police infringements.
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