How the government sabotages a National Action Plan for Human Rights
The government has fully completed 3 out of 15 events planned in a National Action Plan for Human Rights related to LGBT.
This was stated by Andriy Kravchuk, a human rights defender of LGBT Human Rights NASH MIR Center. According to him, all the activity of the government members comes down to avoiding any mention of sexual orientation and gender identity in the government documents.
“We received a response from Ministry of Healthcare about the abolition of blood donation for the homosexuals. There is efficiently explained that it is a risk group with much higher chances of HIV infection. For them it is a basis for continuation of such ban. We can’t agree with this. This applies only to men. But there was no clarification why homosexual women can’t be blood donors”, he says, adding that his NGO is willing to compromise, but only if they are reasonably justified and are not based on prejudice.
Andriy Kravchuk also said that Ministry of Internal Affairs refuses to implement measures as they are formulated in the Action Plan for Human Rights. The Ministry is prepared to make changes only to the art. 67 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
“They especially don’t want to make changes to the articles of the Criminal Code related to the punishment for hate crimes. We cannot agree with this because it violates the foundations of the criminal law. These articles must have qualified grounds of intolerance based on a sexual orientation, gender identity and others. This list must be closed in order to prevent abuse”, said Andriy Kravchuk. The government have not considered the bill in 2016 which was supposed to make changes to the Criminal Code.
The annual monitoring report of Action Plan advises the government to implement the changes to the Criminal Code as soon as possible. They should consider the punishment for the crimes committed based on intolerance on the grounds of race, color, national or ethnic origin, language, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity. These grounds must be clearly specified in the Criminal Code which aggravate punishment and the court must consider the motive of the crimes as aggravating circumstances.
“Deliberate actions aimed at inciting enmity and hatred, insulting the feelings of citizens, humiliation of honor and dignity of citizens based on grounds listed earlier must be criminalized,” said the authors of the report.
In addition, Ministry of Justice refuses to make changes to the law “On prevention of discrimination in Ukraine”. According to Andriy Kravchuk, department believes that this has already been achieved in Ukrainian legislation only through the unconditional prohibition of discrimination based on these grounds in the labor legislation of the EU.
“That is absurd, because these grounds are mention in the Action Plan. What is the point for government to make these changes if they are already made?”, he wondered.
Human rights defender also emphasizes the fact that if a certain grounds are not mentioned in the law, then we can be certain that Ukrainian jurisdiction will not consider it.
“There is a case decision of the Constitutional Court about the age characteristic, which was not mentioned in the Constitution. There is clearly stated that this characteristic is not protected from discrimination. Therefore, we consider the importance of mentioning sexual orientation, gender identity and transsexuality plainly in the “Principles and prevention of discrimination in Ukraine” law”, insists Andriy Kravchuk.
He is convinced that if we do not implement anti-discriminatory regulations in the Ukrainian legislation now, then it may lead to a major conflict to the modern Western world with which Ukraine wants to integrate.
“It has to be done no matter if we want it or not. And the sooner it is done the better it will be for everyone and for the Ukrainian society”, said human rights defender.
The authorities direct much of their efforts to explain why they can not carry out the Action Plan in terms of prevention of discrimination. Iryna Fedorovych, co-chairperson of the Coalition for Combating Discrimination in Ukraine, comments on her experience of real life communication with government officials.
As an example, she told about the December meeting of the Norwegian experts and the Ukrainian investigators.
“There were 50 policemen and 25 investigators from all over the Ukraine, who by the order of the National Police of Ukraine had to supervise the investigation of the hate crimes in each region. They spent three hours trying to explain to the Norwegian policemen why in Ukraine such hate crimes can not and do not need to be investigated,” she said.
Iryna Fedorovych also said that the National Police failed the National Strategy event when it was obliged to place information posters about hate crime in the police departments.
“It was required so that a person could come to the police department, get acquainted with the types of crimes and in the future make a statement about them”, she explains
According to her, since the National Police is underfinanced the community found a donator who covered the cost of carrying out this National Strategy measure.
“We spent four months running around the National Police and trying to agree on five posters. When we finally published them the National Police sent out a telegram in all districts with obligation to place posters. Everyone was alerted in the districts because they had no idea what are these posters and where to get them. And we send out the posters by courier at the expense of the donator. But police departments refused to receive posters from the courier because they had no orders to receive them. They only had a telegram about placing the posters”, recalls Iryna Fedorovych, adding that these two examples show approach of the Ukrainian authorities to implementing National Human Rights Strategy.
She is convinced that the implementation of this strategic document demonstrates the need for changes in the system of government bodies.
“We can make the Action Plan even more specified, describe the best indicators in it, we can get this overall plan to be redesigned for each specific ministry. But if there is no general consensus that certain principles of human rights such as, the principle non-discrimination as a basic foundation of daily work, then we won’t make any progress”, sums up the human rights defender.
National Human Rights Strategy is a document designed to integrate the values of human rights in different areas of public policy. Petro Poroshenko, the president of Ukraine, approved this document by his decree in August 25, 2015 №501/2015.