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Spring is the period of spotlight on human rights issues in Ukraine

Spring is the period of spotlight on human rights issues in Ukraine at  the different international forums.

A lot of events took place in the end of March-beginning of April within the framework of EU and UN structures.

One of the core events of Brussels spring agenda on Ukraine was EU – Ukraine Civil society Seminar on Human Rights. As a result of workshop more then 30 representatives of the leading CSOs of Ukraine in dialogue with EC officials composed Recommendations to the European Union and Ukrainian authorities.

23 Mar 2017 - Brussels, Belgium - EU- Ukraine Civil society Seminar on Human Rights. © BR&U/ Bernal Revert
Boris Zakharov, Advocacy Director of UHHRU

Boris Zakharov, Advocacy Director of UHHRU took part in the event and was promoting the following recommendations in line with UHHRU advocacy agenda: To launch an international format of negotiations on the de-occupation of Crimea, with the participation of the European Union, which should be based on the norms of international humanitarian law, international human rights standards and principles of international law.

To start a format parallel to the Minsk process, with the participation of the European Union to address humanitarian issues arising in armed conflict with the involvement in the negotiating process of international and Ukrainian non-governmental organizations. This concept also was discussed by Mr. Zakharov with Jose Roman Leon Lora, Team Leader on Humanitarian issues of the European  Commission Group Support for Ukraine and Petras Austrevicius Lithuanian MEP.

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Petras Austrevicius and Boris Zakharov

Just before this, Brussels hosted group of the HRDs form the different countries of OSCE region for the Consultation Meeting on Cooperation between HRDs and state authorities. Meeting was organized by OSCE/ODIHR and attended on behalf of UHHRU by Strategic Litigation Director Mykhailo Tarakhalo. Recommendations produced by this meeting will line corner stone in capacity building programs for states in order to develop their mechanisms for cooperation and consultations with HRDs.

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The UHHRU Strategic Litigation Director Mykhailo Tarakhalo

At the same timeline issues of Ukraine also was underlined in Geneva on the margins of Spring session of UN Human Rights Council. Delegation of UHHRU consisted of Head of the UHHRU Documentation Center Oleksii Bida, Strategic Litigation Director Mykhailo Tarakhalo and International Advocacy expert Sasha Delemenchuk. In their meeting with international organizations such as HURIDOCS, Center for Civil and Political Rights, Human Rights House foundation and briefing at the US Delegation in Geneva, UHHRU representatives also covered core advocacy issues such as promotion of the new format on negotiations on release of POWs and hostages in the zones of conflict, compensations for the civil population suffered as a result of the conflict in the East and Review of Ukraine within Universal Periodic Review (UPR) procedure.

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Mykhailo Tarakhalo, Sasha Delemenchuk and Oleksii Bida

On 30th of March 2017 civil society organizations submitted their inputs on the review of Ukraine. UHHRU took part in 2 submissions and organized one Coalition submission. Coalition submission organized by UHHRU included Centre of Law Enforcement Activities Research (CLEAR), The Ukrainian Coalition for Legal Aid, Green World Environmental Humanitarian Organization, Environment-People-Law (EPL), Territory of Success NGO, Charitable organization Right to Protect, All-Ukrainian Public Association Ukrainian National Assembly of Persons with Disabilities, All-Ukrainian Civic Association Coalition for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the Results of Intellectual impairments. These submission covered wide-range of the human rights problems in Ukraine related to law enforcement issues, non-discrimination, environment, healthcare, aftermath of conflicts and occupation. UHHRU participated in the UPR submission prepared jointly by Human Rights House Network, Center for Civil Liberties, Human Rights Information Center, Crimean Human Rights Group and focused on the human rights violations in the occupied Crimea, responsibility for which rests with Ukraine.

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Submission on violations committed by Russian Federation will be prepared separately. Since the illegal annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, the Ukrainian authorities have adapted their legislative framework to face this new situation. However, a number of measures undertaken by the Ukrainian authorities do not go in the direction of protecting the rights of the Crimean people, including those who have in the meantime left the peninsula and resettled in mainland Ukraine. It is key that the Ukrainian authorities refrain from taking measures that negatively affect the rights of Crimean citizens, create barriers and narrow the opportunities for enjoying rights and exercising freedoms on the Crimean peninsula – including, for instance, freedom of movement and property rights. Another submission in which UHHRU participated together with Norwegian Refugee Council and Charitable organization Right to Protect was dedicated to the rights of IDPs.

These submissions will define Ukrainian human rights agenda in Geneva almost until the end of the year, as far as in June at Summer session members of UN Human Rights Council will review all the information submitted both by government of Ukraine and CSOs, in order to organize at Autumn session in November – review of Ukraine and production of the recommendations for our state. We will closely follow all these developments throughout a year.

Now Strasbourg takes turn. Next week human rights violations in the Eastern Ukraine and Occupied Crimea will be reviewed at PACE Spring session. Follow us for updates.

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