GANHRI and ENNHRI second open letter on concerns regarding protection of human rights and rule of law in Ukraine, following the dismissal of the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights
03 June 2022
Dear Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine,
We write to express our serious concerns following the summary dismissal of the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on 31 May 2022, resulting in the lack of a functioning National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) in Ukraine. We regret strongly that, contrary to the advice of several international actors, the dismissal did not respect international standards.
We note with alarm that in the absence of a Commissioner the Office of the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights (Ukraine’s NHRI) cannot currently carry out its functions to promote and protect human rights, including in relation to human rights monitoring and reporting, and the treatment of individual complaints and support, in the context of an active conflict.
Transitional arrangements must urgently be put in place to ensure the institution can continue its activities, including its mandate and function to protect the rights of all people in Ukraine, and address the high incidence of human rights violations. We recommend that a ‘Representative’ or senior staff member of the NHRI takes the position ad interim, with full powers, until a new Commissioner is appointed.
We also call on the Ukrainian Parliament to take steps to ensure that the selection and appointment process of a new Commissioner follows pre-established procedures, as well as respecting the requirements under the UN Paris Principles. This involves an open, transparent, participatory, and merit-based selection and appointment process to ensure the independence of the institution.
The exceptional and challenging circumstances faced by Ukraine make it even more important that its NHRI can work in an effective and independent manner. Indeed, an independent and effective NHRI has been recognised by the European Union and Council of Europe as a requirement and indicator of respect for the rule of law.
We call on you and the international community to implement urgent actions to ensure the continuity of the work of the NHRI, in full compliance with the UN Paris Principles. In the annex to this letter, we detail our concerns and the actions that must be taken to ensure the promotion and protection of human rights in Ukraine.
ENNHRI and GANHRI remain available to clarify the applicable standards and to cooperate on this matter.
Sirpa Rautio, ENNHRI Chair, Director of the Finnish Human Rights Centre Maryam Al Attiyah, GANHRI Chairperson, Chair Qatar NHRC