President approves National Strategy on Human Rights
The National Strategy on Human Rights has been published today on the official website of the Head of State.
Poroshenko signed the Decree “On the Approval of the National Strategy on Human Rights” (of August 25, 2015), which improves the activity of the State to ensure and secure human rights and freedoms in Ukraine.
The Strategy actually stipulates the fundamental human rights and freedoms, set forth in the Constitution of Ukraine: the right to life, combating torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the right to liberty and security of person, prevention and combating discrimination, the right to fair trial, and others.
Executive Director of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union (UHHRU) Arkady Bushchenko notes that the public and the UHHRU in particular were involved in elaboration of the Strategy and tried to influence the preparation of this wording.
“Frankly speaking, this is a compromise document. The final version of the Strategy does not include all suggestions. However, that’s a mercy already, and we can move forward with it,” he says.
The expert believes the adoption of the Strategy to be a positive moment, and stresses that now it is important to monitor the implementation of its provisions.
Bushchenko notes that every state violates human rights. However, if the state recognizes it has human rights problems, it already deserves respect.
In turn, Iryna Fedorovych, the Without Borders project co-coordinator within the Social Action Center, notes that practical effect of the Strategy will be clear, when the relevant action plan is developed. “It’s just a piece of paper so far,” Fedorovych says.
The Action plan is to be elaborated by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine in cooperation with the public representatives within three months.
“The plan should inter alia stipulate the deadlines, the responsible persons, financing, and the indicators to assess performance. The Strategy is useful, necessary, yet purely declarative document without such a plan,” Iryna Fedorovych comments.
The public representatives took part in the discussion, but the final version was approved without their consent.
Thus, Iryna Fedorovych says she saw the final version of the Strategy, which was agreed at the last meeting of the working group at the Presidential Administration. Then the experts were assured it was a ‘final’ version, and only minor proofreading would be introduced.
“I looked through the Strategy, though I didn’t examine provisions on all rights. However, I can say for sure that not proofreading, but content-related changes were introduced and they were not agreed on,” the expert says.
In particular, the prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity was removed.
According to Bohdan Hloba, the Head of the All-Ukrainian Charity Organization “Fulcrum”, the European Commission representatives, speaking at a meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights, noted that the document version neglecting the LGBT issue would be quite a failed effort due to a number of commitments to the Association Agreement with the EU.
The experts argue unanimously that the National Strategy on Human Rights is the first document that covers human rights in general, recognizes them as value and lists the tasks relating to various human rights.
However, it has no know-how in it.
“It will be more than enough, if the human rights section of the Association Agreement is implemented,” Bohdan Hloba sums up.