Considering importance of fulfilment by Ukraine of its international obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, UHHRU prepared this alternative report, which takes into account the human rights challenges arising from the armed conflict.
On 8-9 June 2013, the United Nations Human Rights Committee considered the 7th periodic report submitted by Ukraine in regard to the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966), and on 23 July 2013, at the 3002nd meeting (CCPR/C/SR.3002) the Committee took the concluding observations. Following the review, there were delivered around 23 recommendations related to such areas as the antidiscrimination and antiracism, ensuring gender equality and freedom of speech, the prevention of ill-treatment and domestic violence, the eradication of human trafficking.
Full report is available by this link.
UHHRU would like to present the basic thesis of the alternative report.
The key observations are as follows:
- Insufficient legal awareness among law enforcement officers and judges regarding the key provisions of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which results in its poor practical application.
- Absence of the mechanism for reviewing court decisions by the Supreme Court of Ukraine on the basis of the decisions delivered by appropriate bodies of international organizations (in addition to already available review based on decisions by international courts).
- Independence of the institution of the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights that is being threatened due to the illegitimate election of the new Commissioner, as well as potential negative impact of changes in the structure of the Commissioner’s office on the capacity of the National Preventive Mechanism, as well as other areas.
- Non-compliance of Ukraine’s anti-discrimination legislation with the provisions of the Covenant due to insufficient number of discrimination types subject to prohibition, as well as to the lack of effective remedies for victims of discrimination. The armed conflict has led to the emergence of new categories of the population (IDPs and residents of temporarily occupied and non-government-controlled territories) that are particularly vulnerable to discrimination, specifically due to the fact that they are not considered separate categories under anti-discrimination legislation.
- Equality of rights is not properly ensured, particularly in the context of the armed conflict (internally displaced women are more affected by multiple discrimination than IDP men).
- Rising number of deaths in prisons and poor investigations of such incidents.
- Losses among the civilian population as a result of shelling and mine laying (including through indiscriminate firing on civilian objects near the demarcation line and on penitentiary institutions in non-government-controlled territories), as well as lack of mechanisms for population’s evacuation from the combat zone.
- Poor investigations of human trafficking (particularly in the context of the armed conflict and occupation), and inadequate prosecution of those responsible.
- Crackdown of representatives of the Ukrainian government on civil rights and freedoms, specifically through criminal prosecution of the civil society activists.
- Systematic and widespread persecution of activists by Russia in the occupied Crimea, attacks on NGOs in non-government-controlled territory of Donbas, which has led to the mass withdrawal of activists from the peninsula and suspension of the activities of civil society organizations in Donbas.
- Significant restriction on the freedom of peaceful assembly by the Russia’s occupying authorities in Crimea.
- Rising number of victims of torture and ill-treatment at the hands of law enforcement officers and impunity of the perpetrators.
- Insufficient counteraction and prevention by the authorized government agencies of various forms of domestic violence (in particular, of the violence caused by the armed conflict).
- Low effectiveness of the hate crimes investigations by the law enforcement agencies (in particular, of the crimes based on racism, homophobia or transphobia).
A number of recommendations have been developed to remedy the situation, in particular:
- To include the study of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, practice of its application, and interpretation of domestic law through its prism, in the training programs for judges and law enforcement officers.
- To amend legislation and add as grounds for the review of court judgments by the Ukraine’s Supreme Court the decisions delivered by appropriate bodies of international organizations, which discover during the trial processes the violations of international commitments by the government.
- To eliminate insufficient compliance of national legislation with the norms of international humanitarian law by developing an appropriate bill.
- To examine the procedure for the election of the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, repeal the latest changes to this procedure and bring back the previous mechanism.
- To harmonize national legislation (the Law “On the principles of prevention and combating of discrimination in Ukraine”, the Criminal Code of Ukraine, election laws etc.), particularly by defining the term “discrimination” and specifying prohibited types of discrimination; as well as to establish liability for discrimination in the Civil and Administrative Codes. To prohibit at the legislative level discrimination based on “health”, “sexual orientation” and “gender identity”.
- To revise provisions of national legislation that lead to discrimination against internally displaced people and residents of temporarily occupied and non-government-controlled territories, specifically as regards to the rights established under the Covenant.
- To ensure equal rights for women and men (including those affected by the conflict) through efficient implementation of the National Action Plan for the Implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security for the period until 2020.
- To take measures to create a mechanism for public oversight in penitentiary institutions, ensure adequate medical care, and establish a system for the prevention of suicides.
- To implement measures envisaged by the National Human Rights Strategy aimed at ensuring the right to life under conditions of the armed conflict (in particular, by developing a mechanism for evacuating the population from the combat zone, informing residents of non-government-controlled territories regarding safe conditions for voluntary relocation to other regions of Ukraine etc.).
- To take measures against human trafficking in temporarily occupied and non-government-controlled territories of Ukraine, as well as to prevent involvement of Ukrainian citizens in criminal activities, specifically transporting of narcotic substances to other countries (namely, in the Russian Federation).
- To put a stop to the persecution of civil society activists, specifically by abolishing the provision of the Law of Ukraine “On the Prevention of Corruption” that requires anti-corruption activists to submit e-declarations of assets.
- To ensure documenting and reporting of all violations of human rights committed by the occupation authorities in the temporarily occupied and non-controlled territories, utilization of international mechanisms for termination of such violations, and bringing the occupying state to liability.
- To regulate criminal responsibility for torture and ill-treatment, create a mechanism for dealing with complaints concerning incidents of torture or ill-treatment, and establish an independent body for efficient investigation of deaths in penitentiary institutions.
- To pay particular attention and ensure proper responses to new challenges concerning incidents of domestic violence in the internally displaced families and veterans of anti-terrorist operation.
- To introduce into legislation the amendments as regard hate crimes (specifically by adding such types as hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity); to provide training for law enforcement officers in order to improve the quality of investigations; as well as to develop a comprehensive national agenda on reconciliation and conflict resolution.