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Human rights organizations call on Verkhovna Rada to ensure an independent competition for the Commissioner's position

10.06.2022, 14:36
Photo credit: golos.com.ua
Photo credit: golos.com.ua

Human rights organizations representatives call on the Verkhovna Rada to immediately start preparing an open and independent competition for the position of the Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights according to the internationally recognized standards of transparency, impartiality, and civil society involvement.

The according address is posted on "KrymSOS" website.

The address states that since the Parliament dismissed the Commissioner on May 31, the function of parliamentary control over the observance of constitutional human and civil rights and freedoms has been paralyzed, as this control is exercised by the Ukrainian Parliament's Commissioner for Human Rights.

At the same time, the address says, the institution of the Commissioner is not limited to one position, it is a whole Office that is realized through many functions, including a network of regional representatives.

"Under martial law, the effective operation of this institution is extremely important for Ukrainian society, as the issue of human rights in Ukraine has become critical, and the international community's awareness directly affects support for Ukraine and sanctions against russia," the statement says.

At the same time, the human rights activists note that the Law of Ukraine "On the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine" does not contain any provisions that may allow the Office of the Commissioner to function in case of the Commissioner's dismissal and failure to appoint a successor.

The human rights activists also point out that currently there has been no public information about the start of the candidate selection process for the new Commissioner or about holding any consultations with representatives of the human rights community of Ukraine. And a discussion on a candidate within the Servant of the People faction cannot be considered a public process.

They insist that the independence of candidates and their compliance with professional and ethical requirements can only be guaranteed through an open competition with the civil society being involved in the selection process, in full compliance with the UN Paris Principles.

Therefore, the human rights activists insist:

  • on an immediate initiation of amendments to the Law of Ukraine "On the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine" in order to unblock the activities of the Commissioner's Office until a new Commissioner is appointed;
  • on starting the process of public consultations with human rights organizations on the procedures and criteria for selecting candidates for the Commissioner's position;
  • on ensuring a transparent and independent competition for the position of the Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights with a participation and involvement opportunity for a wide range of candidates without political influence.

The address was signed by: ZMINA Human Rights Center, DEJURE Foundation, Vostok SOS Foundation, 
"Pravo Na Zakhyst" Charity Foundation, NGO "Donbas SOS," Association of Relatives of Kremlin's Political Prisoners, NGO KrymSOS, Media Initiative for Human Rights, "HRUPA VPLYVU" Public Holding, Kharkiv Institute for Social Research, NGO "Fund for Support of Fundamental Research," Crimean Human Rights Group, NGO "Postupovy Hurt Frankivtsiv," NGO "Institute for Peace and Common Ground," UHRM Association.

As IMI reported, on May 31, the Verkhovna Rada dismissed Lyudmila Denisova from the position of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Human Rights.

On May 31, over 30 human rights organizations called on the Verkhovna Rada to stop politicizing and trying to destroy the independence of the Ombudsman's institution and to create conditions for an independent competition for this position in compliance with all international standards.

On May 25, 2022, female Ukrainian media workers called on the Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights Lyudmila Denisova to abstain from excessively detailed descriptions of sexual crimes during the war, as well as to verify and carefully consider every word to avoid sensationalism in the reports.

Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova stated that Lyudmila Denisova did not provide her with any information on rape cases which she reported on social media. Instead, the Commissioner was sending emails.

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