By: Jennifer Tapia Boada

UPR – Third review cycle of Ukraine.

On November 15, 2017, H.E. Mr. Sergiy Petukhov, Deputy Minister of Justice of Ukraine for the European Integration, presented the Third National Report of the Universal Periodic Review on the developments regarding the situation of human rights and the implementation of previous recommendations submitted in the last UPR-review in 2012. During the last UPR cycle, held in October 2012, Ukraine had accepted 145 recommendations.

The report was prepared by the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine (MoJ) with the involvement of all relevant ministries, agencies and institutions. The Draft Report was published on the website of the MoJ, on the page devoted to the UPR. In addition to the inter-ministerial consultations, extensive consultations with international and national non-governmental organizations were held in the process of drafting the Report. Recommendations and suggestions were carefully assessed and discussed before compiling the final version of the Report.

Presentation of the National Report

During the presentation of the report1, Mr. Sergiy Petukhov outlined the legislative improvements and institutional changes with regards to implementation of the previous UPR recommendations.

Legislative improvements, institutional changes, policy measures

Amendments to the Constitution, adopted in June 2016, initiated a judicial reform process. This has removed political influence over the appointment of judges and it has introduced a transparent procedure for the selection of judges with the participation of civil society. The Law on Principles of Prevention and Combating Discrimination was amended in 2014 to align it to international standards. Likewise, the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman) was given additional power of control in the field of protection against discrimination.

Torture and ill treatment: The National Preventive Mechanism to prevent torture and ill-treatment (NPM) was established in 2012. Ukraine has recently established an independent SBI to investigate crimes committed by high-ranking officials and law-enforcement officers. In particular, the SBI will be investigating allegations of torture and ill-treatment by police officers and other law-enforcement agencies.

Detention conditions:  In 2015, there were 380 Temporary Holding Facilities -THF in Ukraine. Since then, facilities that lack minimal detention conditions have been closed (they were lacking individual sleeping places, access to daylight or water supply). All remaining THF are equipped with a centralized water supply and central heating.

IDPS in Occupied Territories: The Ministry of Temporarily Occupied Territories and IDPs (MTOT) was established in 2016. A manual on the implementation of the rules of IHL for the armed forces has recently been updated to better reflect provisions of customary IHL. The Government prepared a draft law introducing crimes against humanity. On October 2014, Ukraine adopted a law regulating the status, rights and social protection of IDPs. In 2015, Ukraine approved the Comprehensive State Programme for Support, Social Adaptation and Reintegration of IDPs. Social Services Centres around the country provide IDPs with psychological assistance, housing, humanitarian aid and support in issuing and reissuing of documents.

Persons with Disabilities: The President appointed the Commissioner for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It was also adopted a National Action Plan for the Implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities for the period up to 2020, approved in 2016.

Gender Equality: In 2016, average wages earned by women were 25.4 percent less than those earned by men. The Strategy for Poverty Reduction 2016-2020 intends to solve this problem by strengthening public control over discriminatory practices and the gradual introduction of gender quotas for State-owned enterprises. In 2017, the Government established the Office of the Commissioner for Gender Equality.

Prevention of gender-based violence: the draft Law on Preventing and Fighting Domestic Violence (dated 20 October 2016) was adopted. The adoption of this law will ensure a comprehensive approach to prevent any form of violence against women.

Non-discrimination, protection of vulnerable groups: The Law of Ukraine on Principles of Prevention and Combating Discrimination was adopted in 2012 and provides a general framework for anti-discrimination policies. It was amended in May 2014 to include specific forms of discrimination. The Labour Code was amended in 2015 to specifically prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment and occupation.

Indigenous peoples: The President appointed the Commissioner for the Crimean Tatar Issues to prepare a draft law recognizing the Crimean Tatars as an indigenous people of Ukraine and protecting their ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious identity.

Accountability, Transparency, Corruption: In 2015, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) and the Specialised Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office were established. The same year, the Justice Sector Reform Strategy for 2015-2020 was adopted to improve access to justice by eliminating corruption, and simplifying the judicial system and court procedures. The National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption (NAPC) was established in 2016.

Human rights policy: The President of Ukraine approved the National Strategy of Human Rights (NSHR) for the period of 2015–2020.

Ratification of the Rome Statute of the ICC: Amendments to Article 124 of the Constitution of Ukraine allowed for the possibility to ratify the Rome Statute within three years.

Criminal justice: In 2012, Ukraine adopted a new CPC, which updated procedural rules for detention, investigations and criminal trials. The CPC takes into account European standards in the sphere of criminal justice and relevant jurisprudence of the ECtHR.

Combating Human Trafficking: Approved in 2016, the State Social Program for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings for the period until 2020 envisages a comprehensive set of measures for preventing, protecting the rights of victims and providing assistance to those affected.

Freedom of mass media: In 2014, the Law on Public Television and Radio Broadcasting was adopted and aims at promoting the formation of civil society by involving citizens in discussions. In 2015, legislation was adopted to allow the opening of databases on the beneficiary owners of different mass media companies to provide the public with information about ownership.


Compilation on Ukraine

Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

This report was compiled pursuant to Human Rights Council resolutions 5/1 and 16/21, on the information contained in the reports of treaty bodies, special procedures and other relevant United Nations documents as part of the review. Ukraine was encouraged to ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families; the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the International Labour Organization (ILO) Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989; the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, and accelerate the ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (the Istanbul Convention).

The United Nations country team noted that the 2016 constitutional amendments had allowed Ukraine to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, but by no earlier than September 2019.It also noted that Ukraine had not become a party to The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in respect of Intercountry Adoption.

National human rights framework: The United Nations country team reported that, while Ukraine had acceded to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, provisions regarding criminalization of enforced disappearance had not been integrated in national legislation. The Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment welcomed the designation of the Ombudsperson’s Office as the national preventive mechanism.

Equality and non-discrimination: The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination welcomed the adoption of the 2012 Act on the principles of preventing and combating discrimination, but was concerned at the absence of national origin and descent as grounds for racial discrimination. Similarly, the Human Rights Committee raised concern about the absence of sexual orientation and gender identity as prohibited grounds for discrimination. Both Committees were also concerned at reports of increased racist hate speech against, inter alia, Roma, Crimean Tatars, Jews, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, Africans, asylum seekers and refugees in Ukraine.

Development, the environment, and business and human rights: The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights was concerned about the extent of corruption.

Civil and political rights

Right to life, liberty and security of persons: The United Nations country team reported that, since mid-April 2014, over 2,000 civilians had been killed in armed hostilities, mostly as a result of indiscriminate shelling of populated areas in eastern Ukraine. Dozens of civilians had been subjected to summary executions and killings or had died of torture and ill-treatment in custody. About 3,000 conflict-related detainees had been deprived of their liberty in the territories controlled by the armed groups. The OHCHR indicated that cases of conflict-related sexual violence against women and men remained underreported. It noted that the provision of humanitarian assistance remained challenging in territory controlled by armed groups in the eastern regions. The Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture reiterated its recommendation that Ukraine bring provisions of the Criminal Code regarding the definition of torture into full compliance with article 1 of the Convention against Torture. The Committee against Torture remained concerned about the poor conditions in places of detention, including serious overcrowding, and the high mortality rate previously documented among prisoners.

Administration of justice, including impunity, and the rule of law: The United Nations country team stressed that impunity for perpetrators of human rights violations was widespread, often justified by the ongoing conflict. It also highlighted that the armed groups had undermined the human rights of the people. The country team, the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and the Committee against Torture recommended that Ukraine investigate all allegations of torture and that those responsible be prosecuted. The country team stated that insufficient efforts had been made to prevent abuse of children in detention facilities.

Fundamental freedoms and the right to participate in public and political life: The UN country team indicated that armed groups had persecuted members of religious minorities. OHCHR noted an ongoing deterioration in the right to freedom of opinion and expression in conflict-affected parts, including through a ban of over 350 websites, and to restrict access to printed Ukrainian media. UNESCO urged Ukraine to investigate the killings of journalists.

Prohibition of all forms of slavery: The UN country team indicated that the Government had adopted regulatory acts to enforce existing anti-trafficking legislation. A national action plan for the period 2016-2020 had been adopted in 2016, but the estimated costs had exceeded State budget funds. The team stressed that the armed conflict had increased the risk of trafficking in persons.

Economic, social and cultural rights

Right to work and to just and favourable conditions of work: The UN country team noted that the employment and social benefits did not generate decent work and living conditions. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights was concerned about the persistent pay gap between women and men, which stood on average at around 30 per cent. The UN country team noted that the Labour Code did not ensure the application of the ILO treaty obligation of equal pay.

Right to social security: The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights commended Ukraine for establishing the concept of State social standards comprising the minimum wage, the minimum pension and the subsistence level and for regularly increasing the relevant amounts. However, it was concerned that such standards were still not enough to provide workers, unemployed persons and pensioners with a decent living for themselves and their families.

Right to an adequate standard of living: The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights was concerned at the high poverty rates among the most disadvantaged and marginalized individuals, including Roma and Crimean Tatars. It was further concerned that the poverty rate in rural areas was 1.7 times higher than in urban areas.

Right to health: The UN country team stated that Ukraine in 2016, had begun the process of reforming its national health system. The team recommended that Ukraine ensure access to affordable, quality and timely health care and medical treatment for all segments of the population. While noting some progress made, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights was concerned about the lasting high rates of child and maternal mortality and the prevalence of tuberculosis.

Right to education: UNESCO reported that recent official information related to the right to education in Ukraine was quasi non-existent and encouraged the Government to render accessible updated information on the measures taken concerning the implementation of that right. The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination recommended that Ukraine strengthen its measures to improve access to education for Roma children. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights recommended that Ukraine take measures to further improve the situation of Crimean Tatars and ensure their de facto access to education. The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination added that Ukraine should provide Crimean Tatar children with education in the Tatar language.

Rights of specific persons or groups:

Women. - The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women remained concerned at the persistence patriarchal attitudes and discriminatory stereotypes concerning the roles and responsibilities of women and men in the family. It remained concerned at the prevalence of violence against women, in particular domestic and sexual violence. It recommended that Ukraine criminalize domestic violence. The Committee expressed concerned that women remained significantly underrepresented at the decision-making levels in Parliament. It was also concerned that the practice of marriage below 18 still persisted in Roma communities.

Children. - The UN country team reported that the Government had adopted a national plan of action on the implementation of the Convention of the Rights of the Child for the period 2017-2022, aiming to establish an effective child rights protection system at the local level based on international standards.

Persons with disabilities. - The Committee the Rights of on Persons with Disabilities expressed concern that that persons with disabilities, including children, had been abandoned and had been unable to be evacuated during the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Minorities and indigenous peoples. - The United Nations country team indicated that the Law on National Minorities (1992) had not been amended and, because of its vagueness and inconsistency, had led to legal uncertainty for persons belonging to national minorities with regard to the enjoyment of their rights in the areas of education, language or representation in elected bodies.

Migrants, refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced persons: The UN country team stated that Ukraine had no State migration policy strategy. It added that irregular migrants were provided by law with free secondary legal aid, but often did not make use of it owing to the low level of information provided by detaining authorities and the absence of interpreters. The country team reported that the conflict in the east and the situation in Crimea had led to the internal displacement of 1.6 million people. In addition to the heightened risk of sexual and gender-based violence, challenges faced by displaced persons included restricted freedom of movement and problems in gaining access to accommodation, documentation, rights, social benefits and pensions. The Special Rapporteur on IDPs welcomed the adoption in October 2014 of the Law on the Rights and Freedoms of Internally Displaced Persons.

Stateless persons: UNHCR reported that a bill that would amend the existing national legislation on foreigners and stateless persons was being considered It recommended that Ukraine harmonize the definition of “a stateless person” with that of the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons.

Specific regions or territories: In December 2016, the General Assembly adopted resolution 71/205 on the situation of human rights in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, in which it condemned the temporary occupation of Crimea. In the resolution, it welcomed the reports of OHCHR and regional human rights mechanisms in which they had stated that violations of human rights had continued to take place in Crimea. Since 2014, OHCHR had recorded violations of human rights and international humanitarian law affecting people residing in the peninsula; the decline of Ukrainian as a language of instruction; and difficulties in gaining access to health services and social protection and in exercising the right to property. The General Assembly urged international human rights monitoring missions to be granted proper and unimpeded access to Crimea.


Summary of Stakeholders’ submissions on Ukraine

Report prepared by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

This report was prepared pursuant to Human Rights Council resolutions 5/1 and 16/21. It is a summary of 37 stakeholders’ submissions as part of the universal periodic review.

Information provided by Ukraine’s national human rights institution

The Ombudsman recommendations were based on the need to adopt an anti-discrimination legislation; the Ministry of Health should be made competent to deal with the issue of access to medical care to detainees; and the ratification of the Council of Europe (CoE) Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. Regarding persons with disabilities, the ombudsman noted that several legislative acts in the areas of education, healthcare, employment, rehabilitation, accessibility, transport and information had been adopted, but these had not been implemented for several reasons, including due to insufficient funding. Additionally, despite the adoption of a dedicated action plan and strategy, Roma remained one of the most vulnerable social groups, facing restricted access to education, medicine, social services. The Ombudsperson stated that she was mandated to monitor the respect of the rights to personal data protection and access to public information, but she was not in a position to fulfil this mandate.

Information provided by other stakeholders

Several stakeholders recommended that Ukraine ratify the Istanbul Convention, the European Convention on the Compensation of Victims of Violent Crimes, and the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Additionally, there were recommendations on the implementation of provisions of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, into domestic legislation. Likewise, it was noted that the Parliament recently adopted a constitutional amendment that would allow ratification of the Rome Statute, but included a transitional provision that delayed the relevant amendment from taking effect before 2019.

Stakeholders’ assessment of the implementation of the recommendations and the international human rights obligations

National human rights framework: Following the deployment of an Election Observation Mission for the 2015 local election, stakeholders recommended undertaking a comprehensive review of the Law on local elections to allow independent candidates to run at all levels of local councils, introducing effective sanctions for all violations of the election laws.

Equality and non-discrimination: Roma, along with other groups, were systematically discriminated. Hate crimes recorded by police (157 incidents in 2015, with 79 prosecuted and 3 sentenced cases) were disaggregated by bias motivation, but Ukraine had not reported on cases of hate crimes separately from cases of hate speech and/or discrimination. Lesbians and female bisexual and transgender persons were twice more vulnerable to hate crime. Stakeholders recommended amending several articles of the Criminal Code of Ukraine to ensure punishment for crimes motivated by homophobia.

Development, the environment, and business and human rights: stakeholders reported on a number of environment-related challenges, including undue restrictions to access to environment-related information, non-respect of the requirements under the international climate change framework, and the detrimental impact of the conflict on the environment.

Civil and Political Rights

Right to life, liberty and security of person: Several submissions expressed serious concern about human rights violations and abuses committed in the context of the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine. These included cases of summary and extra-judicial executions; the use of indiscriminate weapons against inhabited areas and civilian health care facilities; the use of cluster bombs, landmines and booby traps; the use of civilian facilities to place military equipment and armed individuals; cases of torture or various forms of ill-treatment.

Administration of justice, including impunity and the rule of law: Several stakeholders highlighted the importance of fighting impunity for conflict-related violations in eastern Ukraine. JS15 observed limitations on women’s access to justice, as well as discrimination on the part of law enforcement officials and judges and unpreparedness of the legal system to respond to cases of sexual and gender-based violence, resulting in impunity for the perpetrators.

Fundamental freedoms and the right to participate in public and political life: NGO Public Advocacy (NPA) mentioned instances of hate speech and incitement of violence against UOC members. Other stakeholders reported on physical attacks against journalists, including several killings, since the last review. Front Line Defenders (FLD) listed cases of human rights defenders who had been physically attacked and/or harassed since 2012 because of their work in denouncing corruption, among others.

Prohibition of all forms of slavery: JS1 recommended, inter alia, ensuring sufficient funds for the implementation of the State Anti-Trafficking Programme and counter-trafficking initiatives in general.

Right to privacy and family life: LIGA recommended developing and adopting legislation to establish an officially recognized form of same-sex unions and provide same-sex partners with essential marital rights and obligations.

Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Right to work and to just and favourable conditions of work: the level of women’s access to the labour market was significantly decreasing, the women’s unemployment rate and number of women in the informal labour market was growing, and the problem of equal pay between women and men for equal work was not recognized.

Right to social security. – stakeholders recommended that the authorities develop and implement a separate procedure enabling those persons who permanently reside on the territories outside Government control to have access to their pensions.

Right to an adequate standard of living. - The supervision of housing standards was inadequate.

Right to health. - The European Committee of Social Rights concluded in 2013 that there was a prevailing high infant and maternal mortality rates. JS17 referred to a lack of budgetary funding of the health care sector, in particular regarding the treatment of orphan childhood diseases.

Right to education. There had been no qualitative change in the realization of the right to education since the last review due to the lack of systemic nature of the reforms undertaken. The situation remained difficult for many Roma children and children with disabilities.

Rights of specific persons or groups

Women. - The mortality rate of women in rural areas is much higher than in urban areas. The Family Code contains provisions that discriminate against women. JS4 reported that Ukraine still did not have a specific crime of domestic violence, and that the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine had exacerbated the problem of domestic violence. There are no centres for victims of rape, sexual assault, domestic violence or trafficking.

Children. - The legislative framework for institutions and services in support of for children has improved, though no mechanisms for implementing the changes had been introduced. Children without parental care belonged to the most vulnerable category.

Persons with disabilities. - JS10 recommended providing training on disability issues for civil servants to understand the rights of persons with disabilities, and providing a comprehensive legislative framework for inclusive education for persons with disabilities.

Minorities and indigenous peoples: ODIHR identified a lack of personal documents, difficulties in accessing quality education and employment, inadequate housing conditions and misconduct by the police as the main challenges facing Roma in Ukraine. CS noted that in February 2016, Ukraine officially recognized Crimean Tatars as indigenous peoples.

Migrants, refugees and asylum seekers and internally displaced persons: There is a lack of interpretation available when reviewing the status of a refugee or an asylum seeker.JS14 listed a number of challenges faced by IDPs, which related to the protection of housing, land and property rights, access to medical services, employment and education, and exercise of civil and political rights, including recognition before the law.

Stateless persons: Several concerns were raised regarding the situation of stateless persons in Ukraine in relation to children acquiring nationality, the identification of stateless persons, and Roma statelessness.

Specific regions or territories: Several submissions expressed serious concern over the enjoyment of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights in Crimea under temporary occupation since 2014, including in relation to the repeated harassment of Crimean Tatars, human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists, and bloggers. Several submissions recommended granting access for human rights defenders and international monitors to Crimea.


Interactive dialogue during the 28th Session of the UPR

During the review, in accordance with resolution 5/1, the Delegation of Ukraine introduced its National report for the third cycle.

As head of the Ukraine’s delegation, Mr. Sergiy Petukhov - Deputy Minister of Justice for the European Integration, while presenting the National Report asserted that during the second cycle of the review, Ukraine has received 145 recommendations and has implemented 135 of them. Additionally, Mr. Petukhov informed the delegations that the State of Ukraine will acquire the membership to the Human Rights Council from 2018 to 2020. Furthermore, he assured that Ukraine has been cooperating with all special procedures in country visits to facilitate the monitoring procedures of the United Nations.

Emphasizing the progress made in the period under review, the Deputy Minister stated that currently the biggest challenge posed in Ukraine is the Russian aggression that started in 2014 which resulted in the illegal annexation of Crimea and occupations of parts of Donbass, despite the recognition of the sovereignty of Ukraine within its borders by General Assembly resolutions.  This occupation has brought several abuses for the residents of Crimea including extrajudicial killings, abductions, enforced disappearances, and discrimination of ethnic and religious groups including most prominently Crimean Tatars. He affirmed that Ukraine will continue to cooperate so that the United Nations mechanisms have a permanent presence in Crimea to fully monitor the Human Rights situation and ensure that Russia complies with its obligations ordered by the International Court of Justice. Likewise, he noted that the situation in Donbass remains fragile as Russia-backed terrorist groups continue to control parts of some regions, and this has claimed more than 10.000 lives.

On the other hand, the head of the delegation asserted that the Ukrainian Parliament has discussed the draft law on the reintegration of the occupied parts of Donbass. As a result of the Russian invasion and occupation, Ukraine has faced a humanitarian crisis, which resulted in more than 1.5 million internally displaced persons. Short-term housing was provided to people fleeing persecution, and Ukraine has adopted measures to integrate the IDPs. Mr. Sergiy stated that currently, 88% of the IDPs are fully or partially integrated in the receiving communities. He acknowledged that the biggest obstacles to integration are absence of housing, regular income, or employment. He affirmed that Ukraine will continue to work on the employment programs for IDPs in occupied territories. Additionally, as sexual violence in Donbass remains a problem, Ukraine continues to work on the ratification of the Istanbul convention.  About the Reform of the Judiciary, in 2016 the parliament adopted changes to the constitution of Ukraine straightening the independence of the judiciary and eliminating the political influences in the judges. Likewise, Ukraine has improved the access to justice to all its nationals with centres of free legal aid networks. Lawyers of this centres go visit the detention centres to provide legal advice to detainees.  

Mr. Petukhov has asserted that the law on insuring equal rights and opportunities to women aims to achieve equality between men and women by eliminating imbalances on the opportunities between them.  He acknowledged that currently, women only hold 12% of the seats on the Parliament; they represent 31% of company owners, 18,8 % of top managers in the private sector and 13% of single owners of companies.  

On the right to peaceful assembly, the Deputy Ministry of Justice has noted that the constitution of Ukraine guarantees the right to peaceful assembly, and that the police maintains public order in all public events and public demonstrations. On the protection of journalists, he asserted that in 2015, Ukraine adopted the law on strengthening the guarantees on the legitimate professional activity of journalists and it stablished criminal responsibility for obstructing their professional activity by threatening or using violence against them, by destructing property or taking a journalist as a hostage. He noted that unfortunately the freedom of media is significantly supressed in Crimea, which is under the Russian occupation, and that a number of media companies had to leave the peninsula due to the unbearable working conditions. Likewise, journalists have been placed on the lists of terrorists and extremists. Lastly, he stated that Ukraine remains committed to the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development. In 2016 the National baseline report was approved, which adopted the 17 global SDGs to the national development context. This national baseline report will be taken into consideration by all State authorities for elaborating strategic documents.

During the interactive dialogue, which followed Mr. Sergiy Petukhov’s remarks, 70 delegations delivered their statements with a number of recommendations and comments; and 11-member states submitted their questions in advanced. Member States recommended Ukraine to: advance with the investigations on the murders and the serious violations and abuses made in 2014; increase the investigations on abuses against internally displaced persons; increment humanitarian aid for people living in temporary occupied territories; ensure access to international human rights and international humanitarian actors with the aim of monitoring the human rights situation; abstain from any practice that could endanger the lives of civilians; encourage all necessary means to tackle the problem of corruption and address its root-causes; reform the State Security Service according to international standards; establish a separate special anticorruption court to further strengthen the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law; implement anticorruption policies; review the procedure for the selection of the Ombudsman more broadly; that the declaration of assets by NGOs does not weaken civil society; adopt legislation that can spur the development of the NGO community; implement awareness programs and sensibility trainings against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender; add legislation to eliminate discrimination against women and women-violence; combat the discrimination against LGBT persons; condemn hate speech and prosecute instances of racist speech; ratify the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence-Istanbul Convention; improve the right to health combating maternal mortality; intensify efforts to reduce the salary gap between men and women; strengthen the rights of the minorities by effectively implementing  existing legislation and through effective law enforcement; conduct impartial investigations in cases of torture and arbitrary detention; investigate all allegations of enforced disappearances; end the blockade in Donbass; cease the shelling activity; improve the living conditions of prisoners in particular in pretrial by increasing the minimum space for each prisoner, allocating necessary financing means, and ensuring necessary medical treatment; make efforts to better integrate the Roma community into the society; revoke article 7 of the Educational Act adopted on 5th of September, which obstructs the access to education in mother tongue for minorities; ratify the International Convention of the protection of Migrants Workers; ratify the Convention on Tribal Peoples and Indigenous Peoples; combat human trafficking; guarantee the safety of human rights defenders; ratify the Roma statute of the International Criminal Court;  combat impunity of crimes against media professionals; ratify the Protocol of the Covenant of Economic, Cultural and Social Rights.

Responding to the comments, questions and recommendations, the delegation of Ukraine, composed of representatives of, inter alia, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Culture and the National Police asserted that: Under the legislation of Ukraine, all those victims of human trafficking are entitled to social assistance and that the information campaigns have increased in this matter. The gender component has been included in strategic documents by the government in order to lower the gap between men and women. Minimum wages have been increased. Regarding the education act: article 7 ensures that children of national minorities have a knowledge of Ukrainian language for their integration in society. Regarding integration against Roma community: an inter-ministerial working group has been created responsible for the roman community, Ukraine has declared the special day of the Roma holocaust, and a special monument is dedicated to Romas during the world war two. Regarding the prevention of Torture: they prevent torture though police procedures, additionally, 230 facilities were closed because they didn’t fulfil the necessary conditions. The national police continues to work against torture and in 10 months, the office prosecuted 130 cases for violations against their constitutional rights. The national police also has a division for human rights.  The delegation said that overcoming poverty has been a key strategic priority. Likewise, they have a national program until 2021 which seeks to protect children.

To conclude his presentation, Mr. Sergiy Petukhov thanked the delegations and the Human Right Council for their input, comments, and recommendations. He assured that the delegation will be looking very carefully at all recommendations and will prepare its responses to no later of the 37th session of the Human Rights Council.  


Adoption of the Recommendation Section of the Draft Report, by the Working Group of the Universal Periodic Review.

On Friday November 17, 2017, the Troika for this report, consisting of the representatives of the Netherlands, Rwanda and Georgia, presented the Draft Report to the Working Group, for adoption (distributed under reference A/HRC/WG.6/28/L.13). The Troika reported that the State of Ukraine was addressed with 190 recommendations, which will be examined and responded with a clear position in due time by no later than the thirty-seventh session of the Human Rights Council in March 2018.

The president of the Human Rights Council has recalled the delegations that, as for the practice established in 2015, the entire report, including the summary section, will be circulated to all delegations on 24th November. Additionally, the President has stated that any comments on the Recommendation Section needed to be made in the floor. Given there was no comments on the Recommendation Section by any delegation, the Recommendation Section of the Draft Report on the UPR of Ukraine was adopted by the Working Group.

For the final remarks, Mr. Sergiy Petukhov thanked all the delegations and stated that the UPR should be conducted in an objective, transparent, non-confrontational, and non-politized manner. He also thanked the Troika members for the efforts in making the Ukraine’s third cycle of UPR a successful endeavour.


Links to GICJ reports on the UPR reviews of:

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South Africa - 2017

Tunisia - 2017

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Algeria - 2017

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