We, the representatives of the human rights organizations, address the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine with a request to immediately launch the process of preparing an open and independent competition for the position of the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights in compliance with internationally recognized standards of transparency, impartiality, and civil society involvement.
On May 31, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine passed a no-confidence motion against the Commissioner for Human Rights and relieved her of the post. As a result, the function of parliamentary control over the observance of constitutional rights and freedoms of person and citizen has been paralyzed for more than a week as this control is exercised by the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights in accordance with Article 101 of the Constitution of Ukraine.
At the same time, the institution of the Commissioner is not limited to one position, it is a whole Office that implements many functions, including a network of regional representatives. Amid martial law, the efficient operation of this institution is extremely important for Ukrainian society as the problem of observance of human rights in Ukraine has become critical, and the awareness of the world community has a direct impact on the support for Ukraine and the imposition of sanctions against Russia. However, the Law of Ukraine “On Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights” does not contain norms that may allow the Office of the Commissioner to function in case of dismissal of the Commissioner and failure to appoint a successor.
In addition, there is currently no open information on the start of the process of selecting candidates for the post of Commissioner and holding consultations with representatives of the human rights community of Ukraine. The debates on a candidate within the Servant of the People faction cannot be considered such a public process.
We insist that the independence of candidates for the post and their compliance with professional and ethical requirements can be guaranteed only through an open competition involving civil society representatives in the process of selection of candidates in full compliance with the UN Paris Principles.
The ongoing armed conflict requires that the state strengthen and improve the independent institution of the Commissioner in accordance with international standards as one of the key mechanisms for the protection of human rights.
Therefore, we insist on the need to:
– immediately initiate amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights” to unblock the activities of the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights until a new Commissioner is appointed;
– start the process of public consultations with human rights organizations on the procedures and criteria for selecting candidates for the position of Commissioner;
– ensure a transparent and independent competition for the position of the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights with the possibility of participation and attraction of a wide range of candidates without political influence.
Human Rights Centre ZMINA
Charitable Foundation “East SOS”
All-Ukrainian Charitable Foundation “The Right to Protection”
NGO “Donbas SOS”
Association of Relatives of Political Prisoners of the Kremlin
Media Initiative for Human Rights
Public holding “GROUP OF INFLUENCE”
Kharkiv Institute for Social Research