UBA Condemns Human Rights Violations at the Removal of the Tent Camp Near the Verkhovna Rada

2018-03-05

KYIV - March 05, 2018. The Ukrainian Bar Association (UBA) joined the Open Appeal in connection with the violation of human rights in the removal of a tent camp under the walls of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, published today on the official website of the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

The open appeal states as follows:

On March 3, 2018, the National Police of Ukraine and the National Guard of Ukraine removed the tent camp located on the Hrushevsky street near the Ukrainian Parliament.

The formal reason for these actions was the decision of the investigating judge of Pechersk District Court of Kyiv on March 2, 2018 to conduct an inspection in the tent camp in order to find persons involved in the crime, as well as things and documents relevant to the investigation of criminal proceedings.

The information obtained from the monitoring of the Commissioner for Human Rights and open sources show that there are reasonable grounds to state that a number of gross violations of human rights guaranteed by the Constitution of Ukraine were observed in the actions of law-enforcers, in particular:

-          the right to a peaceful assembly, since the court ruling did not provide for the termination of a tent camp which for a long time remained a peaceful nature; in accordance with the standards of action of law enforcers, they should be directed at the localization of a public order abuser, rather than a peaceful assembly in general;

-          the right to freedom of speech, since at least three journalists have stated that they were interfering with their activities and received physical damage from law enforcement officers;

-          the right not to be subjected to inhuman treatment (at least 19 people were seriously injured in the head, found in a hospital with craniocerebral trauma), as well as humiliating treatment;

-          the right to personal freedom, since a large number of people were illegally detained for a long time.

We wish to pay special attention to the gross violation of the Law of Ukraine "On National Police", which forbids policemen to strike on the head, neck, clavicular, genital organs, lumbar (coccygeal) and abdomen.

There is also a lasting problem of the inability to identify the law enforcement officer who violates human rights. This problem has not been resolved since 2013, even we have a corresponding provision in the Law of Ukraine "On National Police" in place.

We wish to pay special attention to the inadmissibility of cynical statements by some officials who publicly mock human rights abuses. Given this, there are grounds for doubting the unbiased investigation of these events.

In view of the above, we call upon:

1. The Prosecutor General of Ukraine - to ensure a prompt and effective investigation of the events that took place on March 3, 2018 under the walls of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, providing regular public reporting on the results of such investigation.

2. The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine - to consider as soon as possible the bills concerning the improvement of the legislation on the identification of police officers and servicemen of the National Guard of Ukraine.

3. The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine - to adopt by-laws and regulations on the actions  of law enforcement and other services to ensure the protection of public order during mass events.

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