Growing supervision over public activists to harm Ukraine’s democracy, - Freedom House

Author : Freedom House

Source : Freedom House

Human rights defenders call on parliament to refrain from considering a number of bills
10:05, 1 March 2018

Freedom House

The international human rights organization Freedom House said that Ukraine risks putting democracy in the country at risk. Concerns of human rights defenders are caused by presidential bills, which strengthen state monitoring of civil society institutions, according to the organization's website.

“The Rada risks doing serious harm to democracy in Ukraine by passing legislation that would add burdensome oversight of civil society organizations and undermine the effectiveness of the Ombudsman,” said Marc Behrendt, director for Europe and Eurasia programs at Freedom House.

Freedom House added that the Ombudsman institution, one of Ukraine’s most respected and authoritative public institutions, will lose its credibility if candidates represent political interests rather than an independent human rights agenda. The NGO proposals would attempt to put civil society under government control, similar to actions taken in Russia and Kazakhstan, undermining Ukraine’s move towards a more democratic society.

“The Rada should delay or reject votes on both matters until they meet Ukraine’s international human rights obligations, after the Venice Commission’s assessment of the measures at the end of March,” Freedom House stated.

Related: Freedom House recognizes Ukraine’s progress in democracy

As it was reported earlier Ukraine is a “partially free” country, according to the authors of the annual report on Freedom in the World 2018 of the international human rights protection organization Freedom House. The report analyzes the state of civil and political rights in 195 countries of the world.

It is noted that the government made progress in drafting and implementing a number of reforms during 2017, made efforts to fight widespread corruption. In May, new sanctions restricted Ukrainians’ access to popular Russian social media platforms and news outlets. Intermittent fighting continued in the eastern Donbas region.

Related: Freedom House: Crimea is ‘not free’

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