Joint work of government, civil society and international organizations on the National Human Rights Strategy

On 4 March 2015, the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Human Rights, National Minorities and International Relations held a hearing on the National Human Rights Strategy. The project was developed by a working group set up by the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, comprising representatives of civil society and international organizations.

When opening the hearing, Chairman Grygoriy Nemyria noted that "National Human Rights Strategy is a significant tool that has a potential for directing the energy of state bodies and civil organizations to the implementation of European human rights standards."
First Deputy Minister of Justice Natalia Sevostyanova described the process of developing the draft Strategy and briefly stated about the main strategic directions of the project, including: the right to a fair trial, judicial reform, freedom of peaceful assembly, police reform, elimination of discrimination, minority rights, protection of the rights of internally displaced persons and others.
Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights Valeria Lutkovska noted that the Strategy must be approved by the law of Ukraine and proposed to strengthen the role of the Committee on Human Rights, National Minorities and International Relations, giving it the right to conduct an expertise of draft legislation introduced to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine for compliance with the National Human Rights Strategy.
Senior Programme Manager at UNDP Ukraine Yulia Shcherbinina, who is a member of the working group on the Strategy, drew attention to the need to strengthen the mechanism for monitoring the implementation of the Strategy and Action Plan. In addition, she proposed to use Ukraine's interim report under the Universal Periodic Review by the Council for Human Rights as a baseline study for further work on the Strategy and Action Plan.
Discussing the provisions of the Strategy, representatives of international organizations and human rights sector made a number of proposals to improve the project.
Participants recommended to approve the National Human Rights Strategy by law and identified issues that should be included in the text of the Strategy. In particular, supporting the respect for international humanitarian law, protecting civilians in armed conflict zone, establishing accountability for war crimes, strengthening the mechanism for implementing the Strategy, and monitoring, protecting the rights of indigenous peoples and LGBT community.