On 6 October, Ukrainian Parliament adopted in the first reading the Draft Law on Peculiarities of the State Policy in the Securing of State Sovereignty of Ukraine over Temporarily Occupied Territories in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts (register #7163; hereinafter – “Draft Law”). While preparing the Draft Law to the second reading, MPs have submitted over 600 modifications and propositions. However, such activeness of the deputy corps didn't increase neither transparency, nor inclusiveness of the discussion process.

On 17 Novermber regular meeting, Members of the Committee recommended the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to adopt the Draft Law #7163 as a whole in the second reading.

However, the Draft Law hadn't been published as of 23 November, and the Committee announced a meeting for its additional discussion. At the same time, according to the Secretary of the competent Committee on National Security and Defense Ivan Vynnyk, the Parliament will consider the Draft Law on the next session week, despite the Article 117 of Rules of Procedure of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine requires publication of such text in a form of a final comparison table not later than 10 days before its consideration in the session hall.

Human rights and humanitarian organizations are concerned about these substantial violations in the process of consideration of such an important document for Ukraine's future, accompanied by secrecy, numerous violations of the Rules of Parliamentary Procedure, and non-inclusion of civil society representatives and MPs, who submitted modifications to the Draft.

We are seriously concerned about the certain statements in a new wording of the Draft Law, which became open to the public only thanks to mass media. Thus, according to the Article 10 of the updated draft law, the military, representatives of law-enforcement bodies and other individuals, involved in actions guaranteeing the national security and defense, gain quite a wide circle of powers. For example, they are allowed to use weapons, detain and convey the citizens, verify documents, conduct personal search and inspection of belongings, penetrate into dwellings in “safe zones, adjacent to operational areas”. These regulations will obviously have a strong influence on regulation of relations between the military and civilians, as well as on adherence to human rights regulations in the region.

Another questionable positions is that the responsibility for any harm, caused during the conflict, is brought exclusively on the Russian Federation, what may result in impunity, problems for civilian compensation initiatives and restitution. Besides that, it will not facilitate the reconciliation and restoration of justice.

According to the Draft Law, the rights and freedoms on occupied territories shall be secured amendments to the Law of Ukraine on Guaranteeing the Rights and Freedoms of Citizens and on the Legal Regime on the Occupied Territory of Ukraine, which may be amended as necessary. Today, this Law is effective exclusively for the temporarily occupied AR of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol. Thus, it's not clear which amendments, to which regulations, concerning which circle of individuals and when, will be made to this Law. Therefore, there is a risk of leaving the problem of human rights and freedoms on temporarily occupied territories in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts unregulated. In fact, Ukraine will violate a positive obligation to make every effort to protect its citizens on occupied territory.

Detailed analysis of the Draft Law is here.

Taking into consideration public significance of the Draft Law #7163, as well as the abovementioned threats to realization of rights and freedoms, and numerous violations of the Rules of Parliamentary Procedure during consideration of such an important draft law,

  • WE DEMAND that the VRU Committee on National Security and Defense shall immediately publish the Draft Law on Peculiarities of the State Policy in the Securing of State Sovereignty of Ukraine over Temporarily Occupied Territories in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, submitted for the second reading;
  • WE CALL on the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to return the Draft Law #7163 to the competent committee for further elaboration before the second reading, in order to attract representatives of the civil society, human rights and humanitarian organizations, and UN agencies to the elaboration process.

Oleksandra Dvoretska, “Vostok SOS” Charitable Foundation

Oleksandr Halkin, “Right for Protection” Charitable Foundation

Tetiana Durnieva, “HRUPA VPLYVU” Civil Holding

Vadym Valko, Donbass SOS NGO

Oleksandr Kliuzhev, Civil Network OPORA

Tamila Tasheva, Crimea SOS NGO

Tetiana Pechonchyk, Human Rights Information Center

Vershynina Valeriia, the IDP Advisor Program, “Stabilization Support Services” Charitable Foundation

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