Civil society assesses “Civic Associations” Law implementation

24 Jul 2014

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Kyiv – A round table discussion on assessment of the first year implementation of the Law of Ukraine “On Civic Associations” took place in the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine.

The First Deputy Minister of Justice Ms. Inna Yemelianova, the newly appointed Head of the Department for Civic Institutions of the State Registration Service of Ukraine Ms. Tetiana Bondar, Representatives of regional registration services, representatives of international organizations and civic expert participated in the event.

Members of the Network of Civic Organizations for the Development of Civil Society presented the results of civic monitoring of implementation of the law “On Civic Associations” conducted in 2013-2014.

The Network, comprising civic activists from all oblasts of Ukraine and Autonomous Republic of Crimea, conducted an assessment of how the law is implemented by the relevant governmental agencies and what experience civil society obtained vis-à-vis the functioning of the new law.

Overall, the experts concur that the registration framework for the civic associations has improved significantly. Registering civic association or union has become faster and cheaper now. The new law simplified registration procedures for civic associations, lifted territorial restrictions of CSO activities, and extended the rights of CSOs. The corruption factor associated with expediting the registration time, diminished dramatically too. However, the need to work additionally on the quality of fulfilling the requirement of the law on behalf of public officials remained.

The monitoring, however, identified the following issues:

-   Delaying processing time for documents submitted via regular mail;

-  Unclear list of mandatory supporting documents certifying the ownership structure of founders;

-   Information on Registration Services on web-resources is presented in chaotic and non-systemic way and does not correspond with the law “On Civic Associations” (including the fact that presented contact telephones and locations or Registration Service Offices differ in reality);

-  Failure to introduce amendments to the Tax Code impeding civic associations to conduct entrepreneur activities without a risk of losing non-profit status;

-   Court practices assessment identified instances of unlawful court denial to include civic associations into the Roster of Non-Profit Organizations with attribution of non-profit status.

Based on the conducted analysis, experts issued the following clusters of recommendations to improve the implementation of the law:

-         Enhance citizens’ access to contact information for Registration Services;

-         Improve the work of the Registry of Civic Associations;

-        Improve the regulatory framework in the area of enhancing the right to freedom   of association;

The event featured a discussion and approval of the Resolution of a National Meeting of Civil Society Representatives with recommendations to the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, State Registration Service of Ukraine, and State Fiscal Service of Ukraine. 

Resulting from the roundtable discussion, the First Deputy Minister of Justice instructed the relevant Department of State Registration Service of Ukraine to elaborate an action plan on implementation of recommendations of civil society and a system to response to identified issues.

A renewed task was channeled to the Ministry of Justice to develop a unified approach to the design of official websites of Registration Service Offices to feature all the information required under the law “On Civic Associations”. The First Deputy Minister of Justice declared an intention to establish a working group comprising the Ministry of Justice and the State Registration Service of Ukraine on elaboration of an action plan to implement the recommendations of the civil society on improvement the law implementation practice.

The presentation and discussion of the Report results took place within the framework of “Democratization, Human Rights and Civil Society Development” implemented by the United Nations Development Programme with support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark.