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Human Rights Commissioner unveils 2016-17 Strategic Plan – Ukraine

February 24, 2016

Ms. Valeriya Lutkovska, the oft forgotten (due to insufficient powers) yet very capable Human Rights Commissioner of Ukraine, the UNDP, and the Government of Denmark have conspired to produce an updated Human Rights Strategy for Ukraine for the period 2016 – 2017.  Not before time, for the last human rights national strategy your author can recall was published in 2012 in what was a very different time and very different circumstance.  Albeit the main core concerns of 2012 continue to feature heavily within the 2016-17 strategy, current and recent events have pushed forward human rights issues that were clearly unforeseeable in 2012.

As all policy and strategy can only remain good policy and strategy if reviewed and “tweaked” (lest it become ineffective or counterproductive) on a sensible and timely basis, clearly the new strategy document is long overdue.

Valeriya Lutkovska

Valeriya Lutkovska

Naturally the new strategy reads like a sensible “to do” list.  Naturally, like all lists, they are far easier to compile than to actually achieve and implement – particularly when achieving and implementing them is in part dependent upon a Verkhovna Rada crafting and passing legislation, the State budget for necessary financing, and institutional support and compliance from the institutions of State that will often fall foul of the Human Rights Commissioner opinions.

The new strategy document however, does what it should by way of planting a peg in the floor as to where Ukraine is currently, where it is expected to be by the end of 2017, and the issues (almost in the traditional SWAT and PEST analysis format) that will affect achieving the goals outlined within the specified time frame – or not.

Generally the strategy seems to strike a reasonable balance between prevention and due process, constituency accessibility and education, a striving for best practice and an honest self-assessment of current shortcomings.

Perhaps more worthy of note however, is the clear desire to confront, cajole, and cooperate with the political class in a far more public manner than has previously been the case.

If that be so, then a reader can only hope that both Government of Denmark and the UNDP (and others) will have Ms. Lutkovska’s back, for the more she and her office intercede in the crafting of legislation, any public naming and shaming where appropriate, the robust advocacy for dealing with truly systemic human rights problems within Ukraine, and the significant easing of accessibility to the Human Rights office for the citizenry, the greater the temptation will be for the political class to politicise the office of Human Rights Commissioner.

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