In order to improve the observance and enforcement of human and citizen’s rights and freedoms in Ukraine and pursuant to part two of article 102 of the Constitution of Ukraine I decree thereby:
President of Ukraine P.Poroshenko
by the Decree of the President of Ukraine
# 501/2015 of 25 August 2015
The need for approval of the National Strategy for Human Rights (hereinafter – the Strategy) was determined by the necessity to improve state activities on observance and enforcement of human rights and freedoms, establishing an efficient mechanism of protecting human rights and freedoms in Ukraine and settling systemic issues in this realm.
Developments of the Revolution of Dignity (November 2013 – February 2014) proved irreversible commitment of Ukrainian people towards shaping a true constitutional and democratic state, where rights and freedoms of each and every person are respected.
The problem of protecting human rights and freedoms is aggravated by the temporary occupation of the part of Ukrainian territory and the military aggression of the Russian Federation in certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Along the top-priority objectives related to strengthening national security, overcoming economic crisis, reforming public administration, etc., observing human rights remains the main commitment of the state, and it should direct the state activities in all efforts that it undertakes. The risks of restrictions of human rights and freedoms grow disproportionally during the crisis and require a particular control on the side of civil society.
The Strategy aims at uniting the society around understanding the value of human rights and freedoms that shall be protected equally and without discrimination.
The Strategy focuses on responding to the main systemic challenges in the area of protecting human rights and freedoms and new challenges that the society faces with, but it is not exhaustive in terms of the problems in this area. The system of protecting human rights and freedoms will be improved with due account of both domestic experience and frameworks and principles developed and piloted by the international community. In this regard, the Strategy will effectively build on the experience of Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, Ukrainian human rights defendants, the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, other international organizations, and the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights.
In cooperation with other states, Ukraine will apply a human rights based approach and develop bilateral relations based on respect for international commitments in this area.
The goal of the Strategy is to ensure the priority of human rights and freedoms as a pivotal driver of the state policy that guides state authorities and local governments in a decision-making process.
The implementation of the Strategy will result in introducing systemic approach to fulfilling the objectives and ensuring cohesive actions of the state authorities and local self-government bodies in the area of human rights and freedoms, establishing the efficient (accessible, understandable, predictable) mechanism of observing human rights and freedoms in Ukraine.
The Strategy is based on the following principles:
- openness and transparency of implementation of the Strategy with the aim to maximize the involvement of all stakeholders to implementation and monitoring;
- equality and non-discrimination in observing equal rights and freedoms;
- specificity and feasibility of strategic goals and measurability of the expected results of the Strategy;
- integrity at interpretation and implementation of the Strategy;
- allocation of financial and other resources necessary to achieve the strategic goals;
- addressing the new challenges in time.
Ensuring the right to life
Human life is the highest value of society. The state’s duty to protect human life is of particular significance, with regard to current circumstances, in particular:
To ensure adequate protection of the right to life and the availability of remedies and mechanisms for effective investigation of violations of the right to life.
- an efficient system aimed at ensuring combating criminal acts against life, their prevention, suppression and punishment for such acts an remedies of the families of victims is established;
- rules of the international law are observed for the protection of life of peaceful population on the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine;
- the conditions of detention and treating persons in the detention facilities where they are detained upon the court or administrative decision pursuant to the law are in line with international standards;
- pre-conditions are created for minimizing the increased risks to life and health.
The torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment remains a systemic problem in Ukraine.
Lack of efficient investigation of crimes and inefficient system of prevention and protection from tortures create an atmosphere of impunity and provoke the spread of it.
Developments related to the aggression of the Russian Federation aggravated the problem of improper treatment and made society more tolerant to it.
- an efficient system of investigating crimes related to torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, including enforced disappearances, is established;
- efficiency of legal protection from the improper treatment is ensured;
- an efficient remedy and rehabilitation of victims of crimes related to torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment is provided to the victims, in accordance with the international standards;
- conditions of detention and treatment of detainees in all places of custody where they are detained upon the court or administrative decision pursuant to the law conform to international standards;
- efficient operation of the national preventive mechanism is secured;
- the principle of prohibition of expulsion of aliens and stateless persons to the state where they can suffer from improper treatment is observed.
Systemic problems in this area are particularly the practice of non-compliance with procedural law by law enforcement officers and judges, unconformity of the domestic human rights law to international standards leading to arbitrary deprivation of liberty (in particular, violation of human rights during admission to mental health hospitals, in temporary facilities for foreigners and stateless persons who stay in Ukraine illegally and in temporary facilities for refugees), enforced disappearances on the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine and in the area of anti-terrorist operation in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
To establish efficient system of protection of the right to freedom and personal inviolability and efficient investigation of crimes related to enforced disappearances.
- existing legal frameworks on arrest and detention are brought in line with international standards, non-documented detentions are not practices anymore;
- periodic court verifications of the legality of detention or deprivation of liberty take place, while the right to liberty is guaranteed;
- higher efficiency of judicial control of the reasons for deprivation of liberty, in particular during the enforced admission to mental health hospitals;
- efficient investigations take place in order to bring to liability offenders who committed kidnapping on the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine and in the area of anti-terrorist operation in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, including with the use of international legal mechanisms;
- the arbitrary and undocumented arrest and detention without a court decision is made impossible;
- detention of aliens and stateless persons for the expulsion outside Ukraine is used only as the well-reasoned measure of last resort for ensuring enforced expulsion, alternatives to the enforced expulsion are introduced;
- the protection of human rights of the detainees for an administrative offense established at the level not worse than provided in the criminal procedural law, efficient guarantees are not limited;
- support is provided to victims of enforced disappearances and their families.
The right to independent, impartial and unbiased trial is not ensured in a proper way. In particular, it is proved by the facts that judges are dependent from executive and legislative authorities; the judiciary is appointed in non-transparent way; procedural instruments to protect the rights and interests of persons are imperfect; system of legal aid does not include new categories of people who need it; systematic failure of court decisions; insufficient unity and consistency of jurisprudence; justice legislation and its application do not comply with international standards.
- access to justice is provided to everyone;
- appointing of the judiciary and bringing judges to liability is not dependent on political background and meets international standards;
- independence, impartiality, efficiency and institutional capacity of judicial system is ensured;
- transparency of the activities of judges and level of their responsibility is increased;
- the gaps of procedural legislation are eliminated, providing for effective proceedings within reasonable timeframes and consistent jurisprudence;
- the efficient system of enforcement is in place, court judgments and other decisions are enforced within a reasonable timeframe, in particular through the introduction of an private enforcement of judgments;
- the judicial system is simplified and its institutional capacity is built;
- processes of forming judiciary and bringing judges to liability are depoliticized and made in conformity with international standards;
- professional qualifications of judges are improved;
- the system of self-government in the judiciary is ensured;
- safeguards for professional activity of lawyers are ensured;
- quality standards of the free legal aid are improved, their observance is guaranteed;
- possibilities for providing primary and secondary free legal aid in civil and administrative cases are extended;
- high-quality and accessible legal aid is provided through the bar and efficient system of free legal aid;
- distribution of cases between the judges is carried out by the automated system only;
- the constitutional complaint procedure is introduced;
- access to justice is provided to children, disabled persons, legally incapable adults and persons whose legal capability is limited in line with European standards.
Government intervention with professional activities of journalists has been decreased, regulations have been provided for the establishment of Public television and radio broadcasting of Ukraine and basic standards of transparency of ownership of mass media, new standards of the higher education are based on the autonomy of higher educational establishment and academic liberty of all stakeholders. At the same time, an array of problems still has to be addressed. The most urgent of them are excessive state regulation of information relations; improper protection n of the journalists; state propaganda and restrictions of public speeches on certain issues; influence of owners of mass media on editorial policy; improper implementation of legislation in the area of access to information, including public information; no guarantee of access of everyone to information resources, in particular to the Internet.
To ensure free information exchange and the freedom of expression.
- system of safeguards for public access to informational resources, including to the Internet, is provided.
Systemic problems in this area are, namely, the lack of high-quality legislation on peaceful assembly, exhaustive procedures to register the establishment and termination of non-governmental organizations, unequal access of non-governmental organizations to budget funding.
To ensure the exercise of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
- positive commitments of the state with regard to the freedom of peaceful assembly, in particular to providing their security, are determined and observed;
- government intervention in the statutory activities of non-governmental organizations is prohibited, government intervention in the establishment, operation and termination of non-governmental organizations through registration procedures is minimized;
- equal and transparent access of non-governmental organizations to budget funding is secured;
- the procedures of state registration of religious organizations and endorsement of peaceful assemblies of religious organizations are improved;
- unreasoned and disproportional limitation of the right to peaceful assembly is made impossible.
Barriers for the citizens to take part in public administration are inter alia non-transparent election procedures (funding and spending electoral funds, changing the borders of electoral districts, establishing election commissions, etc.) that do not provide for the voting rights of constituents and transparency of appointing servants of state authorities and local self-government bodies through the elections.
The mechanisms of direct democracy need improvement. So do the mechanisms of interaction between the civil society and state authorities and local self-government bodies in decision-making, including when addressing local issues.
- the voting rights of citizens and transparency of appointing servants of state authorities and local self-government bodies through the elections are secured, consistency and sustainability of the national legislation on elections is ensured;
- conditions are shaped for the observance of voting rights of the disabled persons;
- the legislation on the national referendum is improved and the legislative framework for organization of local referenda is provided;
- conditions for introducing e-democracy are set;
- transparency and openness of the activities of state authorities and local self-government bodies are ensured, in particular through the access to public information;
- an efficient modality of cooperation between civil society organizations and state authorities and local self-government bodies is developed.
Preventing and combatting discrimination is complicated because of the lack of consistent activities of state authorities and local self-government bodies in this area, inefficient legal mechanisms of bringing to liability for committing discrimination, lack of awareness raising for overcoming stereotypes, biases and intolerance prevalent in society.
To establish efficient system of preventing and combatting discrimination.
- a comprehensive and consistent legislation in the area of preventing and combatting discrimination is adopted;
- awareness raising programmes for citizens are delivered in order to prevent and combat discrimination;
- everyone is provided with unrestricted access to efficient legal protection from discrimination;
- non-discrimination and respect for diversity and observed and implemented, measures are taken to overcome social stereotypes leading to discrimination;
- appropriate and timely positive actions are taken at the national and local levels for the prevention and combatting discrimination, efficient and timely responses to new challenges are provided;
- responsibility is increased for the refusal to reasonably adjust infrastructure to the needs of disabled persons;
- crimes committed for reasons of racial, national, religious and other intolerance are efficiently investigated, while perpetrators are brought to liability;
- the procedure of anti-discrimination expert assessment of draft legal acts by executive authorities is improved;
- statistical data on violations of the law on preventing and combatting discrimination and on bringing perpetrators to liability are gathered and processed.
Despite a progress made, a problem of unequal access of men and men to exercising their rights is observed in Ukraine. Existing inequality stresses the need to provide systemic and comprehensive solution to the problem of discrimination of women in order to ensure full gender equality.
To ensure equal rights and opportunities for women and men in all areas of public life.
- international standards of gender equality are implemented, including at the legislative level;
- the mechanisms for ensuring equal rights and opportunities for women and men are improved;
- conditions are provided for balanced participation of women and men in the political processes and public decision-making;
- comprehensive measures are implemented to combat gender discrimination, including gender stereotypes;
- equal access to justice is provided.
The legal regulatory framework in the area of combatting gender-based violence requires improvement and shall be brought in line with international standards.
Other urgent problems are exploitation of children, illegal use of labour in the detention facilities where persons are detained upon the court or administrative decision pursuant to the law, inefficient investigation of crimes related to human trafficking and other illegal agreements subject of which is a human person.
To establish an efficient system for combating all forms of gender-based violence, human trafficking and slavery, to provide high-quality care to survivors.
- conditions necessary for the prevention and combating all forms of gender-based violence and human trafficking are in place;
- a system of care to survivors of human trafficking crimes is improved;
- legal regulatory framework in the area of combatting gender-based violence is brought in line with international standards;
- crimes related to human trafficking, including those committed on the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine and in the area of anti-terrorist operation in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, are effectively investigated;
- the principles of equality are observed while determining the working conditions, remuneration, mandatory state social insurance of persons detained in the detention facilities upon the court or administrative decision pursuant to the law;
- criminal liability is established for illegal use of labour of persons detained in the detention facilities upon the court or administrative decision pursuant to the law;
- legal framework is provided to the issues of labour therapy, in particular, the requirements are set with regard to organization of labour therapy in accordance with rehabilitation plan of a patient, regular assessment of efficiency of labour therapy by a doctor;
- strengthened control – including civic control – over the working conditions of persons detained in the detention facilities upon the court or administrative decision pursuant to the law.
Domestic violence is of latent nature, which complicated efficient and timely measures taken by the authorized bodies to prevent and stop it.
To establish efficient system of prevention and combatting domestic violence, improve quality of care to victims of domestic violence.
- efficient system to prevent and combat domestic violence is established, in particular, measures are taken to ensure that the authorized bodies are notified about domestic violence cases;
- the procedure of providing care to victims of domestic violence is improved, and the trainings for perpetrators on non-violent behaviour in inter-personal relations are implemented;
- awareness raising events for the population on problems and ways to combat domestic violence and the care available to victims of domestic violence are carried out;
- local measures are taken to prevent domestic violence.
Legislation on national minorities needs improvement and conforming to international standards. There is a need to provide legal framework to the status of indigenous peoples.
To establish an effective system of promoting and protection of rights of national minorities and indigenous peoples, to support and develop tolerant inter-ethnic relations in Ukrainian society.
The state does not fully ensure the citizens’ right to work and social security. The current system of social security is poorly efficient, and it puts a significant financial burden on the budget. Special needs of certain groups of citizens are not taken into account to sufficient extent while ensuring their right to social security. In addition, economic situation in a country further aggravates the social protection and employment of population.
To create conditions for decent living standards and appropriate social security of citizens.
- an effective system of social security that meets the capabilities of the state is established;
- funding sources of social security system alternative to the state are available;
- safe and healthy working environment is provided;
- protection of labour rights, including the right of citizens to establish trade unions, is guaranteed;
- social responsibility of business is strengthened, conditions for corporate social responsibility of economic entities are shaped;
- workplaces are reasonably adjusted for the disabled employees, they are provided with support at their workplaces;
- an efficient system of social service, including social case management and assisted living for the disabled, is in place.
Ensuring the right of citizens to health care and shaping conditions for efficient and accessible health care requires immediate action.
Promotion of entrepreneurship is one of the key state policy priorities given the countering of the risks of economic depression.
To ensure freedom of entrepreneurship, to create conditions for self-employment of population.
- a system of taxation that promotes the development of small and medium enterprises is established;
- the property rights are efficiently protected;
- government intervention in the legal entrepreneurial activity is eliminated;
- government control over the entrepreneurial activity is minimized: in particular, strict regulations for the reasons and procedure of such control are provided by law;
- the right to start economic activities just by declaring it is provided.
The pressing problems are ensuring adequate access to education, quality and competitiveness of education in new economic, social and cultural circumstances.
To ensure guaranteed access to high-quality and competitive education, to establish an effective system for comprehensive human development according to individual educational needs and abilities.
- a network of pre-school, secondary, and extra-curricular educational institutions meets the needs of local communities;
- educational curricula encompass the issues of human rights education, including children rights and gender equality;
- inclusive education is implemented to enable the disabled persons to fulfil their right to education;
- equal rights to education are provided without privileges or discrimination on any grounds, including on the grounds of ethnic and social origin, economic status, place of residence and other grounds.
- lifelong learning opportunities are provided.
Despite the adoption of progressive legislation on the protection of personal data, a number of problems are there is the area if ensuring the right to privacy. In particular, there is no effective protection of the right to privacy, prevention and termination of infringements of legislation during the processing of personal data. No effective institutional mechanism of independent control over the protection of right to personal data is in place. Another issue to be addressed is excessive government databases of personal data owned or administered by state authorities. The rights to private and family life of individuals detained in detention facilities where they are detained upon the court or administrative decision pursuant to the law continue to be violated.
To establish the standards for protection of the right to privacy.
- efficient institutional mechanism for observing the right to privacy is established;
- efficient system of independent control over the protection of right to personal data in the activities of law enforcement authorities is introduced;
- cases of government intervention with the right to privacy are minimized and clearly regulated;
- the right to privacy is ensured for persons detained in detention facilities where they are detained upon the court or administrative decision pursuant to the law, in particular, when mandatory mental care is provided;
- standards of the protection of privacy right are observed with regard to videotaping;
- a system preventing the creation of excessive government databases and illegal intervention into privacy is established.
An urgent problem is the lack of unified system for observance and protection of the rights of the child in Ukraine. The best interests and opinion of a child are not adequately taken into account when making decisions related to this child.
- efficient system for the protection of childhood is established;
- conditions for self-expression and development of a child are created;
- social orphanage and institutional care of children is prevented;
- every decision made about child is based on the best interests of the child and takes into account the child’s views, appropriate with the child’s age and maturity;
- conditions for the development and upbringing of children in families or in the closest to family environment are created; the reform of boarding schools (institutions) is implemented, they are gradually eliminated;
- the child-friendly services – especially medical, social, and legal services – are introduced;
- all children have equal access to services necessary to them regardless of health, ethnic or social origin, religion, place of residence, citizenship and other grounds;
- the system of early intervention is introduced and functional in order to create favourable life conditions for children having development conditions, support is provided to families of these children, measures are taken to prevent the parents from refusing from their children having development conditions and incapacitation of children;
- an efficient system of juvenile justice is established in accordance with international standards;
- efficient measures aimed at the re-socialization and rehabilitation of minor convicts and former inmates are taken;
- children born on the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine and in settlements where state authorities temporarily do not perform or partially perform their duties are duly registered;
- the legislation on refugees and persons in need of additional and temporary protection is strictly observed with regard to children, including children separated from their families;
- the number of child survivors of violence and all forms of exploitation, as well as the children in conflict with the law is decreased;
- conditions are created to prevent the involvement of children in the armed conflicts, all possible measures are taken to ensure the protection of rights of children in the area of military operations and armed conflicts;
- minimal standards of security and well-being of the child are set;
- child neglect, homelessness, vagrancy are eliminated.
The provision of legal and social protection to refugees, persons in need of additional protection, foreigners and stateless persons needs improvement with account of international standards. The procedure of acknowledging a person a refugee or a person in need of additional protection should be promptly improved, another task is to develop an efficient mechanism for integrating refugees, persons in need of additional protection, foreigners and stateless persons into Ukrainian society, exercise of their rights to work, health care, education, other rights and freedoms. It is also necessary to regulate the problems of stay of foreigners and stateless persons in Ukraine.
- the legislation on refugees and persons in need of additional protection is brought in line with the international standards;
- the measures for the integration of persons acknowledged as refugees or persons in need of additional protection in Ukraine, foreigners and stateless persons legally staying in Ukraine into Ukrainian society are implemented;
- appropriate conditions are provided for the person to apply for a status of a refugee or a person in need of additional protection, especially for children separated from their families;
- rights to work, health care, education of the persons acknowledged as refugees or persons in need of additional protection in Ukraine are observed;
- conditions are shaped for the integration into Ukrainian society of persons acknowledged as refugees or persons in need of additional protection in Ukraine and of foreigners and stateless persons that legally stay in Ukraine for a long time.
The main problems in this area are: the legislation does not regulate a number of issues related to anti-terrorist operation in Ukraine; the status of certain categories of anti-terrorist operation participants has not been determined; the level of material and technical support of persons taking part in the anti-terrorist operation is inadequate.
To create and ensure appropriate conditions for the exercise and protection of the rights of participants of anti-terrorist operation.
- the legislative regulation of the status of certain categories of participants of anti-terrorist operation is provided;
- the adequate material and technical conditions for the participants of anti-terrorist operation for the period of this operation are provided;
- a system for social, medical, and psychological rehabilitation of the participants of anti-terrorist operation and their families is established for them to get back to normal life.
The conditions of social adaptation of internally displaced persons at a new place of residence need improvement. It is also necessary to take efforts for facilitating their return to former place of residence. Another urgent problem is the need to provide resources for infrastructure rehabilitation in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
To ensure proper conditions for the exercise and protection of the rights and freedoms of internally displaced persons.
- the basic livelihood needs of internally displaced persons are provided;
- comprehensive measures are taken to support and maintain social adaptation of citizens of Ukraine who moved from the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine and the area of anti-terrorist operation to other regions of Ukraine
- social rights of internally displaced persons are observed and protected, their educational and other needs are met;
- conditions are created for voluntary return of internally displaced persons to their former permanent places of residence;
- efficient mechanisms for promoting the observance and restoration of rights and freedoms of internally displaced persons are introduced;
- international legal mechanisms for the protection of rights and freedoms of internally displaced persons are used.
In the temporarily occupied territory, there are numerous violations of human rights and freedoms of citizens of Ukraine, rights of indigenous peoples and national minorities. After the restoration of territorial integrity of Ukraine, observance of rights and freedoms of person and citizen will be provided in full.
To ensure the rights of citizens of Ukraine.
- the measures aimed to protect the rights of citizens of Ukraine residing in the temporarily occupied territory are implemented, including through the available bilateral and multilateral international legal mechanisms.
There is a constant threat to life and health of citizens of Ukraine living in the settlements of Donetsk and Luhansk regions where state authorities temporarily do not perform or partially perform their duties. There is no opportunity to adequately ensure economic, social and other rights of such citizens.
To ensure the exercise and protection of rights of citizens of Ukraine.
- the basic livelihood needs of citizens of Ukraine living in the respective settlements of Donetsk and Luhansk regions are provided;
- the adequate conditions for paying social benefits to such citizens are created, measures are taken to observe their rights to health care and education;
- a safe environment for voluntary movement of such citizens to other regions of Ukraine is created;
- the access to justice for such citizens is restored and the crimes committed in the respective settlements of Donetsk and Luhansk regions are investigated.
The main problems are the lack of an efficient system of measures for the liberation of hostages captured and/or detained on the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk regions and providing their rehabilitation.
To release the hostages and ensure their rehabilitation.
- an effective system for the liberation of hostages is established;
- the rights of the released persons to primary medical and legal assistance are observed;
- the system of social – including psychological – rehabilitation of the released individuals and their families is put in operation;
- crimes on kidnapping people and taking hostages are effectively investigated.
The overall level of legal knowledge is not satisfactory due to a mismatch between the needs of the society and the existing national legal education programmes. Low awareness of individuals authorized to perform state functions of the international human rights standards leads to the disregard for human rights and, thus, to violations of the rule of law in their activities.
To enable every person to have access to information and gain knowledge about the rights, freedoms and duties of a person and a citizen, the mechanisms of their exercise and protection.
- in cooperation with non-governmental and international organizations, a national programme of human rights education is developed and adopted, which includes a clear evaluation and implementation monitoring system;
- international standards of human rights are introduced in the curricula of the secondary, vocational and higher educational institutions;
- human rights standards are integrated to the requirements of professional competence of individuals engaged in law making and law enforcement;
- the awareness raising of human rights is regularly and systematically carried out in the society, including through alternative communication means and easy language in order to disseminate knowledge about human rights and freedoms.
Implementation of the Strategy is provided through the joint action of state authorities, civil society institutions, the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, with the support of the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and other international organizations at all stages of development, implementation, monitoring and control of the Action Plan.
In order to monitor the implementation of the Strategy by the President of Ukraine, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, the relevant subsidiary bodies may be established and include the representatives of state authorities, civil society institutions, representative bodies of the indigenous peoples, the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, international organizations, Members of Parliament of Ukraine, researchers and other experts (according to procedure stipulated by law).
The control over the implementation of the Strategy and Action plan is performed in accordance with available national and international mechanisms.
The evaluation of implementation of the Strategy shall be based on the results of the Action Plan, Ukraine’s position in the international ratings, the results of monitoring of Ukraine by international organizations, social surveys, and opinion polls.
Head of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine B.Lozhkin