Government demonstrates a strong commitment to develop National Human Rights Action Plan

Kyiv, 21 September 2015 – The Ministry of Justice hosted a roundtable discussion on implementation of the National Human Rights Strategy and its Action Plan.

 DSC7946In his opening remarks, Minister of Justice Pavlo Petrenko emphasised that Ukrainian authorities are ready for a broad discussion on human rights at the highest level and guarantee fulfilment of all obligations in this area.
"The fact that over 250 organizations participated in development of the Action Plan for implementation of the Strategy proves that it is indeed a national dialogue which should unite us and help find consensus on all contentious issues," said the Minister of Justice.
He also informed about the steps that have already been taken to improve the situation in the field of human rights. Particularly, it is the launch of the anti-corruption reform, ensuring access to public information, and opening registries.
 DSC7935First Deputy Minister of Justice Natalia Sevostyanova said that preparation of similar strategies and plans began 15 years ago in European countries. Therefore, these countries are implementing the second and third waves of strategies.
"This is the first experience for us. The most important is that the government handed civil society and experts a leading role in developing the National Human Rights Strategy. These people volunteer to improve the situation on the regional and national levels in the country," said Deputy Minister of Justice.
United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonović underlined the main objectives of the Strategy: "First of all, it embodies a commitment of the country's leaders to protect and fulfil human rights obligations. Second, it provides an opportunity to monitor these commitments. Third, it is the consent of the Government to be accountable in implementing human rights commitments."
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Serhii Kyslytsia emphasized: "Ukraine's treaty obligations may now become a part of the Action Plan, and a part of the discussion to be held. The main role in the future Plan should belong to representatives of civil society."
Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights Valeria Lutkovska underlined the openness provided by the Ministry of Justice during development of the Strategy.
"A huge step was made. The National Human Rights Strategy was adopted. It was developed by the Ministry of Justice with wide involvement of civil society. This Strategy is our road map in terms of what we would like to achieve in 5 years after the start of its implementation," said the Ombudsperson.
 DSC7957Arkady Bushchenko, Executive Director of Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, stressed the importance of a dialogue between the government and civil society. He presented the mid-term shadow report on Ukraine's implementation of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) recommendations prepared by civil society.
Civil society organizations representing the Working Group on the National Human Rights Strategy Implementation shared their vision on further steps and approaches to developing a qualitative Action Plan.