Oleksandr Feldman: “No war can justify disrespect for human rights”


April 5, 2017

Oleksandr Feldman: “No war can justify disrespect for human rights”

 The situation with human rights in Ukraine continues worsening, Ukrainian MP Oleksandr Feldman notes.

Thus, according to the statistics for 2016, our country became a ‘leader’ on the number of suites brought to the European Court of Human Rights. Every fifth case in ECHR (more than 18,000) is against Ukraine. The most ‘problem’ European countries also include Turkey (12,600 claims), Hungary (8,900 claims) and Russia (7,400 claims).

Freedom in the World, the civil liberties and political rights index prepared by Freedom House, indicates that Ukraine is among the second hundred countries between Liberia and Tanzania. The recent research of economic freedoms (Heritage Foundation) for 2016 showed than Ukraine fell down to the 166th place (out of 180 countries included in the index).

How the authorities react on such shameful results of their activity? Do they build a new policy focused on the protection of human rights, economic and political liberties of citizens? No, instead they are trying to discredit the international research centres, intensify censorship and provoke splits in the society.

The recent initiatives of the government concern the restrictions in the Internet: there is an intention to ban Vkontakte and Odnoklassniki social networks, and mail.ru e-mail service. In fact they are offering to restrict the rights of dozen millions of Ukrainians. At the same time, the government develops the bill allowing to block any website in Ukraine.

The grounding is traditional: security reasons, hybrid war, internal enemies. It often happens that if there are no enemies, they should be invented. I am sure that no war can justify disrespect for human rights, all the more the undeclared war against the rights of own citizens.

Ukraine declares its ‘European course,’ but its true sense is exactly in the priority of human rights. It is a distinctive European feature, which must become our ‘civilizational choice.’ Meanwhile, the authorities call the unfinished wall on the border with Russia a ‘European Wall.’ Apparently, everyone the word ‘Europe’ is understood differently by different people.

The problem is certainly not only in the authorities or the laws: objectively speaking, Ukrainian society remains the hostage to some medieval stereotypes in many issues concerning human rights, equality, mutual respect. Moreover, during many years, the ideas of secondariness of the person and his/her rights with respect to a collective and its interests.

Impoverishment of citizens only makes their intolerance worse, while the understanding of natural human rights is narrowed to the minimal basic set for survival. Even if technically the personal rights are protected in Ukraine, there is definitely a problem at the level of everyday practice and especially at the mental level.

But still I believe that Ukraine may become a country where human rights are not declared but guaranteed. And I am sure that it will become true in our lifetime. The main thing is not to be afraid to struggle for own rights and to learn mutual respect.