Ukraine’s human rights strategy: pandemic ‘should not be used as a pretext to limit rule of law’

May 27, 2020

During a public discussion on Ukraine’s National Strategy for Human Rights 2020-23, organised by the Ministry of Justice this week, EUAM’s Deputy Head of Mission Fredrik Wesslau addressed some of the previous Strategy’s achievements and weaknesses, and pointed to aspects that need to be considered for the revised document. Parliamentarians, governmental officials, civil society and international organisations also contributed to the virtual discussion.

“When it comes to implementing the Strategy, law-enforcement agencies should play a fundamental role, given their immediate proximity to the citizens. They have a tremendous opportunity to increase confidence in the system via collaboration with civil society,” said Mr Wesslau. “We are glad to see that work to ensure Ukraine has a renewed human rights strategy continues during these difficult times, as the pandemic should not be used as a pretext to limit democratic and civic space, the respect for the rule of law and of international commitments.

The revision of the National Human Rights Strategy and Action Plan 2020-2023 depends on an expert assessment from all regions of Ukraine, so that problematic trends at local level are identified and addressed. This can only be achieved through a meaningful involvement of civil society in the process, remarked Mr Wesslau.

He also stressed the importance of adopting a gender perspective when drafting strategic documents. “Depending on whether you are a man, woman, boy or girl, a human rights violation will impact you differently. Through a gender sensitive approach, we can better respond to the needs of the whole population.

Benjamin Moreau, Deputy Head of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, welcomed the achievements already made, such as the establishment of ‘dialogue police’ in Ukraine, and the adoption of a law to prevent and combat domestic violence – two measures of progress that involved close cooperation with EUAM experts. EUAM experts are also ready to contribute to the Human Rights Action Plan in order to promote provisions that are in line with international principles of good governance.