IADL statement on human rights in Ukraine presented at UN Human Rights Council

The following statement on human rights in Ukraine was presented to the UN Human Rights Council by Micol Savia, the representative of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers to the United Nations in Geneva.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY

Human Rights Council

30th Session

Item 10: Technical assistance and capacity-building – Interactive Dialogue on HC oral update on Ukraine

The International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) thanks the High Commissioner for the oral update on the situation of human rights in Ukraine. Nevertheless, we regret that the reports presented so far fail to offer a comprehensive overview of the human rights violations in the country.

The unprecedented crackdown on political parties, independent media and other dissenting voices, as well as the alarming spread of ultra-nationalism, xenophobia, and hate speeches are seriously underestimated, if not ignored. The support and the impunity provided by the government to far-right and neo-Nazi groups can’t be neglected. These elements, which are among the root causes of the conflict, brutally affected political opponents and minorities groups, leading to divisions hard to mend.

In its eagerness to suppress dissent, adducing supposed threats to national security, the government banned media, journalists, books, movies and blacklisted artists such as Emir Kusturica, Oliver Stone, Goran Bregovic and many others. The Communist Party of Ukraine, the main opposition party in the country before the “regime change”, came under increasing pressure: its offices have been raided, its rallies forbidden, its members beaten and intimidated. In July 2014 the Minister of Justice filed an administrative lawsuit to ban it. The trial, marked by significant attacks on the independence of the Judiciary, is still pending.

The so-called Decommunization Laws, criticized by several international organizations for their flagrant violation of basic international norms and standards, have not be amended as recommended, inter alia, in the 10th OHCHR report. In application of these laws, the Minister of justice prohibited three political party, including the Communist Party of Ukraine, from taking part in the forthcoming local election on October 25th. A list of monuments and memorials to be destroyed is being prepared by the Institute of National Memory, headed by Volodymyr Vyatrovych, well known in the scientific community for his books denying crimes of OUN-UPA, Ukrainian nationalist paramilitary groups that during WWII fought in Nazi units like the SS Division “Galicia”, slaughtering tens of thousands of Poles and Jews. The list of “memory erasure”, along with prominent politicians from Russia and Ukraine, include representatives of the European social-democracy and anti-fascist movement such as Karl Liebknecht, Rosa Luxemburg, Wilhelm Pieck, Ernst Thalmann, Georgi Dimitrov and Mate Zalka.

Recently an NGO called “Left March” was denied registration by the Minister of Justice because Left March is the title of a 1918 poem by Vladimir Mayakovsky.

Finally, Mr. President, the assessment of human rights situation in Crimea should not be included in these reports because it is not pertinent and unnecessary distorts the debate. As it has been said from the outset by the same UN Assistant Secretary-General, Mr. Ivan Simonovic, the objective of the mission is to assess the human rights situation in Ukraine and not to dwell on politics.

September 29th, 2015