Ukraine’s Ombudsperson calls on Parliament to allow IDPs to vote

Дата: 14 September 2015
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Ukraine’s Ombudsperson Valeria Lutkovska has urged MPs to urgently pass a bill allowing the IDPs to take part in the elections.

This is stated in the open letter of Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights to the members of the Parliament of Ukraine with regard to securing electoral rights of the internally displaced persons on the equal basis with other citizens.

Ombudsperson Valeria Lutkovska reminds that due to the imperfect legislation about 1.5 million citizens of Ukraine, who are now considered to be the internally displaced persons (IDPs), are virtually deprived of the opportunity to exercise their voting rights, in particular, the right to elect members of village, town and city councils and the heads of the territorial communities they live in.

Such situation violates the principle of non-discrimination, both in terms of securing the equality of rights and freedoms and the equality of possibilities (the Article 2 of the Law of Ukraine “On Prevention and Combating Discrimination in Ukraine”), creates indirect discrimination on the grounds of place of residence and belonging to the group of IDPs, and contradicts the international law, the Constitution, the laws of Ukraine, and the commitments of Ukraine to ensure the sustainable integration of the IDPs at the place of displacement,” the Ombudsperson stresses.

However, there are no grounds to assert that such restriction in the electoral rights pursues any legitimate, reasonable goal.

Valeria Lutkovska recalls that the local elections take place in less than a month, and the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine now has three pending alternative bills on exercising the voting rights of the internally displaced persons at the local level. The Ombudsperson urges not to delay the elaboration of these bills and pass the one that will enjoy the greatest support of the community and will provide the most balanced approach to securing the electoral rights of the IDPs while minimizing the risks associated with the vote manipulation.

As a reminder, the internally displaced persons may be granted the opportunity to temporarily change the place of voting without changing the electoral address at the local elections to be held on October 25.

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