Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
“Uspishna Varta“ human rights activists sent to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights information about the violation of the right to social security and education in Ukraine.
On the basis of the collected information, the UN Committee will form a list of questions to the government of Ukraine for a report on the observance of the assumed international obligations within the framework of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. The government of Ukraine is obliged to provide a report in May, 2019 in the format of answers to the questions that were previously formulated by the Committee.
The report prepared by “Uspishna Varta” experts includes examples of the facts of discrimination of some social groups of Ukraine’s population. It is noted that the main reasons for discrimination and the violation of separate provisions of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights is the armed conflict in the east of Ukraine and the unbalanced policy of the state institutions of Ukraine (The Verkhovna Rada, the Cabinet of Ministers, the President).
The analysis of the observance of rights is based on the identification of groups of the population whose rights are violated. Namely, this concerns internally displaced persons – pensioners, ethnic minorities, and citizens not living in the place of their official registration. Detailed analysis is provided for each social group, which records the violation of the rights guaranteed by the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights.
Regarding the analysis of the observance of the right to social security, an emphasis is placed on discrimination in the payment of pensions – the illegality of ending social payments for persons living in the uncontrolled territories of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, as well as the violation of the rights of temporarily displaced persons when receiving social payments.
The most discriminatory point of the resolution on social payments to IDPs is the obligatory checks at the residence of IDPs that are supposed to take place every 6 months for the appointment, recovery, and reception of all payments. Thus, IDPs who receive pensions became the hostages of their residence.
Also, IDP pensioners are deprived of the right to choose the financial institution through which they will receive their pensions. They must be served only at the state “Oshchadbank” which has the right, should the identification procedure of a pensioner fail, to stop transactions in and out of their account. And this is only a small part of the violations and discrimination against citizens on the basis of belonging to a certain social group.
Relying on the chronology of events given in the report and the legal characteristic of the changes made to the legislation of Ukraine, human rights activists drew the conclusion that the government of Ukraine violates part 2 of Article 2 and part 3 of Article 9 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights.
Concerning observance of the right to education, human rights activists noted a violation of the right to use the languages of ethnic minorities and the rights of pupils when enrolling in the first class.
After the adoption of the law “On education” from September 5th, 2017, the only language of the educational process in educational institutions became the state one, and the languages of national minorities, including Russian, will be learned only up to the fifth class, which doesn’t correspond to the European Charter for Regional Languages ratified by Ukraine.
And the innovations related to the enrolment of school students on a territorial basis became discrimination in relation to citizens who have no official registration at their place of residence, and also in relation to temporarily displaced persons from the zone of military operations in Donbass.
The given examples contradict part 3 of Article 13 (paragraphs 1 and 3) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, according to which the States Parties to the present Covenant recognise that education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and the sense of its dignity, and shall strengthen the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
A session of the Committee will take place in Geneva in September, 2018. At this session the reports of the State Parties, lists of questions and the replies of the State Parties, and also the materials received previously by the Committee within the framework of submitted reports, including from the human rights platform “Uspishna Varta” will be considered.
As a reminder, “Uspishna Varta” human rights activists systematically cooperate with international organisations and provide the monitoring of the observance of political and civil rights and freedoms in Ukraine. On June 11th in the Bundestag at the “Human Rights and Freedom of Media in Ukraine” conference the large-scale report “The right to freedom of speech and opinion in Ukraine: monitoring of observance in 2014-2018” prepared by experts of the human rights platform “Uspishna Varta” was presented.
[Report translated by Ollie Richardson and Angelina Siard]
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