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UN Committee on economic, social and cultural rights issues concluding observations and recommendations on report of Ukraine

The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights today concluded its thirty-ninth session and issued its concluding observations and recommendations on the reports presented by Costa Rica, Ukraine, San Marino, Belgium and Paraguay on the efforts of those countries to implement the provisions of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

These countries are among the 157 States parties to the International Covenant which are required to submit periodic reports to the Committee on efforts to implement the provisions of the treaty, which entered into force in 1976.

With regards to the report of Ukraine, the Committee noted with appreciation the legislative measures adopted by the State party to promote equal opportunities and eliminate discrimination against women and disadvantaged and marginalized individuals and groups. The Committee noted with concern reports about police abuse and denial of effective protection against acts of discrimination and violence committed against ethnic and religious minorities. Among its conclusions and recommendations, the Committee recommended that the State party ensure the independence and adequate funding of the Office of the Ukrainian Ombudsman, in accordance with the Paris Principles.

Ukraine

In its concluding observations on the fifth periodic report of Ukraine (E/C.12/UKR/CO/5), the Committee noted with appreciation the legislative measures adopted by the State party to promote equal opportunities and eliminate discrimination against women and disadvantaged and marginalized individuals and groups. The Committee welcomed the adoption by the State party of legislation on climate protection giving effect to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Committee also noted with appreciation the recent ratification by the State party of the Revised European Social Charter, and welcomed the substantial increase of domestic funding allocated to the fight against HIV/AIDS, as well as the emphasis on HIV/AIDS prevention in the National AIDS Programme (2004-2008) of the State party. The Committee noted the favourable position of the State party concerning the elaboration of an Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

The Committee was concerned about the Ombudsman’s reported lack of independence and lack of adequate resources, as well as its ineffectiveness in defending economic, social and cultural rights. The Committee noted with concern reports about police abuse and denial of effective protection against acts of discrimination and violence committed against ethnic and religious minorities, especially Roma, Crimean Tatars, Asian and African asylum seekers, as well as Muslims or Jews, the reluctance of the police to investigate properly such incidents, and the tendency to prosecute and sentence perpetrators of such acts under lenient criminal law provisions on “hooliganism”. The Committee also noted with concern that only few Roma can find regular employment in the State party, that the majority of employed Roma work as unskilled labourers, and that discrimination against Roma job applicants and businesses was reportedly widespread. The Committee was concerned about reports on employers obstructing the creation of independent trade unions, pressure to resign trade union membership, intimidation of trade union leaders, and the close ties between the authorities of the State party and the Federation of Trade Unions which inherited the property from the former official Soviet trade unions.

Among its conclusions and recommendations, the Committee recommended that the State party ensure the independence and adequate funding of the Office of the Ukrainian Ombudsman, in accordance with the Paris Principles. The Committee recommended that the State party consider adopting comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation and amending its Criminal Code to include provisions on racially-motivated crimes, train judges, public prosecutors and the police on the strict application of such provisions. The Committee also recommended that the State party take effective measures to combat discrimination against Roma in the field of employment and increase its efforts to reduce Roma unemployment through specifically targeted measures. The Committee recommended that the State party take urgent measures to ensure the freedom to form and join trade unions of one’s choice, prevent and punish harassment of members and leaders of independent trade unions, and to guarantee plurality and equality of trade unions in law and in practice. The Committee urged the State party to proceed with the adoption of a criminal law provision specifically criminalizing domestic violence.

The Committee is composed of the following Experts: Mohamed Ezzeldin Abdel-Moneim (Egypt), Clement Atangana (Cameroon), Rocio Barahona Riera (Costa Rica), Virginia Bonoan-Dandan (Philippines), Maria Virginia Bras Gomes (Portugal), Azzouz Kerdoun (Algeria), Yuri Kolosov (Russian Federation), Jaime Marchan Romero (Ecuador), Ariranga Govindasamy Pillay (Mauritius), Eibe Riedel (Germany), Andrzej Rzeplinski (Poland), Walid M. Sa’di (Jordan), Philippe Texier (France), Alvaro Tirado Mejia (Colombia), Barbara Elaine Wilson (Switzerland), and Daode Zhan (China). The Chairperson of the Committee is Mr. Texier. Vice-Chairpersons are Mr. Barahona Riera, Mr. Pillay and Mr. Sa’di. The Rapporteur is Mr. Rzeplinski.

UHHRU

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