Ukraine has received 200 recommendations in the UN on how to protect human rights

Nov 20, 2017

Photo credit: Stéphanie St-Laurent Brassard / UNDP in Ukraine

Ukraine has received 200 recommendations on improving the human rights situation within the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the UN Human Rights Council.

Recommendations were provided by delegations from 70 countries, participating in the UN Human Rights Council during an interactive dialogue in Geneva, which was held on November 15. On November 17, they were published by three rapporteur countries on reviewing the human rights situation in Ukraine, which included representatives from the Netherlands, Rwanda and Georgia.

Deputy Minister of Justice of Ukraine on European Integration Serhiy Petukhov, heading the Ukrainian delegation to the UN, assured that the Government of Ukraine will carefully review all recommendations, and will announce its position on them no later than March 2018, until the 37th session of the UN Human Rights Council is being held. Then Ukraine will have four years to fulfill its commitments and report on their implementation during the next fourth periodic review of the UN Human Rights Council.

"A large number of recommendations emphasized the importance of incorporating human rights as an integral part of the reform process. It also involves strengthening of the inclusion of social, economic and cultural rights in the ongoing reforms," said Marcus Brand, Democratic Governance Advisor and Head of the Strategic Advisory Unit of UNDP Ukraine.

"Despite rather huge number of recommendations, received by Ukraine within the framework of the UPR, the national report and statements by members of the Ukrainian delegation showed positive changes and progress achieved in observance of human rights in the state. However, a number of long-standing and new human rights challenges remain unresolved", said Tetyana Pechonchyk, Head of Board at the Center for Human Rights.

Among other things, UN member states welcomed the progress made by Ukraine for the last four years, in particular, the strengthening of the institution of the Ombudsman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, the launch of the National Preventive Mechanism, the adoption of the new Criminal Procedural Code, the National Human Rights Strategy for 2015-2020, as well as changes to the Constitution of Ukraine in the area of ​​justice.

At the same time, most of Ukraine's new recommendations address various aspects of combating discrimination, xenophobia and racism, domestic violence, preventing torture, effective investigation of hate crimes, combating corruption and human trafficking, ensuring the right for a fair trial, and creation of proper conditions for free functioning of media and civil society. Also, UN member states called on Ukraine to ratify a number of international conventions, including the Council of Europe’s Convention on the Prevention of and Treatment of Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention), the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and members of their families.

As per Ksenia Siemorkina, coordinator of monitoring of the implementation of the National Human Rights Strategy Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, human rights organizations will conduct advocacy work and cooperate with the government to adopt relevant recommendations for Ukraine during the next few months.

"Given the huge number of recommendations received by Ukraine from the United Nations, the Action Plan for the implementation of the National Strategy of Human Rights needs to be updated. Together with the civil society organizations and state authorities, systematic approach to ensuring human rights, both on controlled territory and in an armed conflict need to be developed. It is our joint responsibility for the implementation of the recommendations," emphasized the expert.


Background information

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a procedure, within which each of the 193 UN member states should report to the United Nations on the human rights and freedoms situation and receive a critical evaluation of its report. Each country undergoes Universal Periodic Review once in 4.5 years. During the review, the government presents report on the human rights situation. In turn, human rights activists, submit their alternate report. Ukraine undergoes the Universal Periodic Review for the third time. For the first time, Ukraine reported on human rights situation within the UPR in May 2008 and received approximately 40 recommendations. And in October 2012, more than 50 countries provided 145 recommendations to Ukraine within the second review.

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