12 draft laws threatening NGOs are to be considered by the Verkhovna Rada
Starting with the beginning of 2020, 12 draft laws that are limiting the work of NGOs were filed to the Verkhovna Rada. Three of them were registered in July. This is the information provided by the head of the Human Rights Center ZMINA Tetiana Pechnichyk on July 31 during her press-conference in Kyiv, ZMINA reports. According to her, these drafts equate advocacy activities of NGOs and commercial lobbyism (drafts No.3059, 3059-1 і 3059-3), and provide for a notion of “foreign agents”, introduce “lie detector checks” for activists (No.3564) and purging of leaders from the civil society sector No.3193-1, 3326), ban protest actions near courts (No.3291), and introduce excessive financial reporting for NGOs with foreign support (No.3936), etc. “Such legislative initiatives violate our Constitution and international commitments of Ukraine, and unlawfully limit the freedom of gathering and association in Ukraine. They were filed by MPs from three political factions: “Oppositional platform – For Life”, “Sluha Narodu” and “Batkivshchyna”, and also unaffiliated parliamentary Andriy Derkach”, Pechonchyk said. She added that the majority of the mentioned initiatives were developed not for regulating civil society per se, yet some provisions thereof directly or indirectly affect the activities of NGOs and civil rights and freedoms in general. “In addition, some of these initiatives are synchronized with the discreditation campaign against "sorosiata" (“Soros lackeys”) and anti-Western rhetoric, used by some political forces”, Pechonchyk said. According to her, three more draft laws complicate work of advocacy organizations which work with counteraction to discrimination, protection of rights of women and LGBT-community. In particular, these draft laws provide for banning “propaganda of homosexualism” (No.3917), remove the term “gender” from the Ukrainian legislation (No.3916) and establish criminal responsibility for calls to “ruin the family” (No.3316-1). “In case of adoption of even one of the mentioned draft laws, Ukraine would make a considerable step back in democracy and adherence to human rights“, the advocates summarized.