State report on ICERD discussed in Geneva: human rights dashboard at a glance

The Ukrainian delegation comprising representatives of state institutions spearheaded the discussion regarding Ukraine's commitments, successful practices and areas for progress vis-à-vis commitments under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

rom svalyava 2Geneva, 12 August 2016 - The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination finalized its review of the combined twenty-second and twenty-third periodic report of Ukraine on its implementation of the provisions of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
While introducing the government position, Tamara Mazur, Deputy Minister of Culture of Ukraine, referred to a challenging and volatile environment within the country. Nonetheless, she noted, this time was ripe as never before for advancing on key human rights reforms, including those that combat racial discrimination and intolerance.
Iryna Strashnenko, Head of International Affairs Department at the Ministry of Culture, added, in turn that the 2012 anti-discrimination law in many ways improved the country's legal environment regarding prohibition of discrimination. Amongst other things, it spelled out a generalized definition of discrimination and stipulated clear definitions of its key forms, while establishing a non-exclusive list of grounds on which discrimination was prohibited. In addition, concrete measures to combat discrimination were envisaged by the National Strategy for Human Rights and its Action Plan to 2020. Ukraine was also harmonizing its anti-discrimination laws with European and international standards, and in 2015 it bettered legislation regulating the status of refugees.
children-1531938 960 720Law enforcement also witnessed change - the National Contact Point on Combatting Hate Crimes, and the Unit for Countering Radical Groups and Criminal Organizations were created within the new Police to counter intolerance and racial discrimination. The Ministry emphasized that preventive police work was ongoing with the leaders and members of radical youth organizations.
The Committee Experts, in turn, welcomed Ukraine's honoring of its reporting obligations in spite of the difficult times the country, including occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and armed conflict in eastern Ukraine. They took positive note of the legal and policy measures taken to combat discrimination and several plans of action to address various manifestations of racism, xenophobia and religious intolerance. At the same time, they noted concern that prosecution tended to downplay charges and prosecuted hate crimes as hooliganism.
Thus, for instance, they referred to data provided by the alternative reports filed by civil society that detailed a poor system of registering and prosecuting hate crimes in Ukraine (only 3 crimes registered in 2012 vs. 19 assaults listed by non-governmental bodies), and a poor system of trial for such felonies, which led to only 7 court rulings from 2012 to 2016. Thus, as the experts observed, the practice of down-playing the offences was often the rule.
children-82272 960 720Another aspect that was highlighted throughout the deliberations included measures taken to protect the Roma community and promote their integration into society. While Ukrainian Government efforts in this respect were commendable, went the expert comment, there was still much concern regarding continued high levels of violence and racially motivated acts against Roma, low levels of education among them, and insufficient resources provided for the implementation of the Strategy on Protection and Integration into the Ukrainian Society of the Roma Population until 2020.
In his concluding remarks, Yeung Kam John Yeung Sik Yuen, Committee Expert and Rapporteur for Ukraine, noted with appreciation that the delegation answered all questions, including the uneasy and potentially controversial ones, with honesty and candor. The issues raised in the discussion would make up part of the concluding observations, jointly prepared by all Committee Experts that is expected to become public in the end of August.
Prior to the official deliberations regarding Ukraine's commitments on ICERD, the coalition of leading human rights groups presented its alternative report on Ukraine's compliance with the Convention, emphasizing to the Committee and government representatives some of the critical areas for improvement that had been left unaddressed by Ukraine's ICERD periodic report.
The review was webcast from 16:00 to 19:00 Kyiv time on 11 August and from 11:00 to 14:00 Kyiv time on 12 August at For more information on alternative reports, go to (Section: Info from Civil Society Organizations). Stay tuned for updates on our Twitter!