+38 (068) 670 09-60

  • Українська
  • English
  • Deutsch
  • Italiano

Public organization
"Central Anticorruption Committee"

Nationalists, SBU and fighters against the “Russian world”. Whom the State Department included in the report on human rights violations

A report of the US State Department on human rights for 2018 has been released, in which attention is paid to Ukraine.

The document pointed out problems in many areas, including pressure on the media, illegal arrests, attacks by nationalists, violations of the rights of immigrants and others.

“Country” has collected theses of the document, which relate to the territories controlled by Ukraine.

Journalism and censorship
The report says that the authorities regulate and censor information that is considered a threat to national security – especially that which is arbitrarily defined as “pro-Russian”. In this context, the State Department recalled the banning of sites, television channels and social networks.

Moreover, the failure to comply with these prohibitions was used to put pressure on the media. For example, on January 25, the Inter TV channel received a notification from the SBU that it would be checked due to the broadcast of “prohibited films”. And on October 4, parliament called for the imposition of sanctions against TV channels 112 and NewsOne – because of their allegedly pro-Russian activities.

Censorship operates in Ukraine officially, they are perplexed in the State Department. On September 18, the Lviv Regional Council banned all Russian-language books, films and songs to fight the “hybrid war.” The Zhytomyr and Ternopil regional councils did the same. At the same time, the observers found the legality of such prohibitions to be doubtful.

In parallel, there was pressure on the media staff. For example, the editor-in-chief of the Novoye Vremya weekly reported on threats from the journal’s editorial board by the chairman of the parliamentary committee on national security and the former head of Ukroboronprom Sergei Pashinsky, as well as the deputy chairman of the National Security and Defense Council Oleg Gladkovsky.

The magazine reported that both officials were the main beneficiaries of corruption schemes related to government procurement of defense goods. Lawyers for officials demanded that the publication publish a refutation, but the magazine refused to do so.

There have also been cases when, under the pretext of national security, arrests and prosecutions of pro-Russian, in the opinion of the authorities, journalists were carried out. Thus, the report mentions the case of Cyril Vyshinsky, the chief editor of RIA Novosti Ukraine. Concerning this case, concerns were expressed by the Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters Without Borders and the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media.

The authorities also deported and denied entry to foreign journalists. On July 10, border guards banned entry into the country to John Warren Graham Broderip, a British citizen and leading Russian television channel NTV, and imposed a three-year entry ban on him for violating the rules for entering the Crimea in 2015.

There have also been reports of attacks by nationalist groups on journalists. For example, on July 19, C14 members in Kiev attacked a journalist covering a trial of attacking Roma.

The State Department also noted that there is no progress in investigating the murder of Pavel Sheremet. As before, there is no sentence for the murder of Oles Buziny.

The head of the National Union of Journalists Sergey Tomilenko commented on this part of the report.

“The US State Department points to the lack of progress in the investigation into the murder of Pavel Sheremet, a journalist and one of the leaders of the Ukrainian Truth,” the report of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor of the US State Department on human rights in Ukraine for 2018 reads.

The US State Department also fixes in Ukraine: the growth of a culture of impunity, the blocking of work and attacks on media editorial offices, pressure on journalists by the authorities through the courts (requiring disclosure of information sources, searches). Both independent and state-owned media practice self-censorship (when they inform about politicians or when they tell stories, which may be perceived by the public as insufficiently patriotic).

“During the year, no one was arrested in connection with the murder of the famous Belarusian-Russian journalist Pavel Sheremet in 2016. On August 2, the Sheremet family filed a lawsuit against the prosecutor general, complaining about the inaction of the GPU on the case,” the document says.

“Human rights defenders and press freedom observers expressed concerns about the lack of progress in the official investigation, which indicates a high-level obstruction or incompetence in the investigation.”

Cases outlined in the State Department report, the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine can significantly complement.

For the third year in a row, our annual reports on physical attacks and lack of justice are published under the title Victims of Impunity. We fix the lack of progress in investigating cases of beatings of journalists during the time of euromaidan, in attacks on colleagues from the Scheme program, on front-line journalist Natalia Nagornaya, on dozens of regional media workers. Not punished those who set fire to the TV channel “Inter”, who live beat the girls with microphones ….

Conclusion. The government and the politicians who support it have created conditions when crimes against journalists go unpunished. Even resonant murder is not a priority to restore justice.

Journalists are desperate to seek truth and protection from the security forces and the courts. Maybe even through an authoritative State Department, the authorities will hear what the Union has been saying for years – stop impunity immediately. Punish the offenders of journalists, report on the investigation of crimes. Protect free speech! ”

Nine mentions of C14
The text of the report mentions the name of the radical group C14 nine times. It is called the “hate group” (hate group). And lists the cases that are associated with it.

“During the year, human rights organizations expressed growing concern about the growing activity of nationalist groups committing violent attacks on ethnic minorities (especially Roma), LGBTI people, feminists and other people whom they consider to be“ non-Ukrainian ”or“ anti-Ukrainian ”,” the report says.

At the same time, observers noted the inability of the police and prosecutors to prevent these acts of violence, properly classify them as hate crimes, and effectively investigate them. Thus, the authorities created an atmosphere of impunity and injustice.

“The inadequate response of the authorities (to the crimes of the nationalists – ed.) Makes them understand that such actions are permissible,” the authors write.

In addition, members of C14 and the National Corps sometimes committed arbitrary arrests with the apparent consent of law enforcement agencies. For example, on March 14, C14 members illegally detained a man in the Kiev region who was suspected of being a “LPR” fighter. After interrogation, during which he lay face down and in handcuffs, C14 handed him over to the SBU.

On June 8, the National Brigade, created with the support of the National Corps, destroyed the Roma camp in Kiev: its residents did not fulfill the ultimatum to leave the area in 24 hours. The police were present, but did not make any arrests.

What does the report on Poroshenko
The president is mentioned in the report several times. One of the important references is related to the case of the murder of activist Katerina Gandzyuk. The document notes that one of the suspects, Igor Pavlovsky, at the time of the attack was an assistant to Nikolai Palamarchuk, a member of parliament from Blok Petro Poroshenko.

Poroshenko’s name is also remembered in the context of the use of violence and intimidation by the police against journalists. On February 21, several journalists who came to the lawsuit for treason against former President Yanukovych said that the police forced them to undress and go through a humiliating search procedure. Only after that they could get access to the courtroom, where Poroshenko testified via video link.

“Women journalists were asked to take off all their clothes above the belt so that the police could confirm that no political slogans were written on their bodies. The police later indicated that they were looking for members of the Femen protest group. the police as “necessary”, “says the document.

Torture and kidnapping. What is imputed to the SBU
The document mentioned 30 times the SBU. Most of all – in the chapter “Arbitrary arrest”, which deals with the practice of illegal detentions.

In particular, on March 12, the SBU searched the apartment of an opposition journalist in Kharkov. The suspect was presented with a search warrant, but was not allowed to contact a lawyer. After the SBU seized a plastic bottle of ammunition cartridges, which they allegedly found in the journalist’s apartment, he was taken to the regional department of the department, where he was interrogated for 12 hours – and later released without formal charges.

There were numerous reports of arbitrary detentions in connection with the conflict in eastern Ukraine. As of mid-August, there were 28 cases in which military or SBU officers detained alleged members of armed groups and placed them in unofficial places of detention – before their arrests were properly recorded.

Also, the Security Service is accused of unlawful interference with privacy, family, home or correspondence. According to the law, the SBU can not conduct surveillance or searches without a warrant issued by the court, but this provision has been repeatedly violated.

The report also says that the government gained access to private communications and controlled the movement of people without appropriate legal powers. For example, on April 26, a judge of the Uzhgorod city court complained of unlawful surveillance.

In addition, the SBU is mentioned in the context of abductions. According to the report, the victims were blindfolded or hoodiered, handcuffed and transported to an unknown place (building, basement, garage), where they were beaten, imitated, executed or raped. All of them were forced to confess in cooperation with the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation or the separatists.

After that, the victim was either transferred to the SBU or released on the street, where then the person was officially arrested by the same SBU.

Rights of migrants
A separate chapter is devoted to internally displaced persons. The document states that these people do not give their social benefits, do not provide housing, discriminate when applying for a job.

Housing, employment, payment of social benefits and pensions remained the biggest problem among IDPs. Local departments of the Ministry of Social Policy regularly suspended the payment of pensions and benefits while awaiting verification of the physical presence of their beneficiaries in government-controlled areas — ostensibly to combat fraud, requiring recipients to go through the onerous document recovery process.

More than 15 percent of respondents indicated that their social payments were suspended.

According to the law, the government should also provide them with housing, but the authorities have not taken any effective measures.

Discrimination in employment against displaced persons is also reported. They continued to experience difficulties in obtaining education, medical care and the necessary documents.

Information taken from: https://strana.ua/news/190775-vyshel-doklad-hosdepa-o-pravakh-cheloveka-v-ukraine-hde-nashli-narushenija.html