EU must hold Ukraine to its human rights pledges
(Brussels, 21 February 2013) Ahead of next Monday’s EU-Ukraine summit, Amnesty International has urged the European Union to put pressure on Ukraine to meet its human rights commitments, amidst allegations of torture and ill-treatment of people in Ukrainian police detention, forcible expulsions and proposals to ban the ‘promotion of homosexuality’.
“Ukraine wants to improve its relationship with the EU, which must press Ukraine to deliver on its 2009 pledges,” said Nicholas Beger of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office.
“Respect for human rights is fundamental to EU law and also to countries which seek closer links with the Union. There can be no compromises.”
Last December the EU repeated its wish for greater political links and economic integration with Ukraine, provided Kyiv makes the reforms it promised in 2009. Amnesty International has focused on Ukrainian pledges to combat torture and degrading treatment allegedly perpetrated by police and to implement international and regional human rights standards.
There are continuing allegations of mistreatment in police detention and impunity for the police involved. The mistreatment includes beatings, sexual assault and torture. Perpetrators remain unpunished because of flawed investigations into criminal acts by the police, despite credible evidence. Amnesty International has advocated setting up a fully resourced independent agency to investigate all allegations of human rights violations by law enforcers.
Amnesty International has also raised concerns at Ukraine’s continuing forcible return of people to countries where they risk torture, without first examining their cases. Forcible returns contravene international law. Ukraine is also discussing draft laws that would ban the promotion of homosexuality. These laws, if passed, would result in discrimination against LGBTI people by violating their rights to freedom of expression and equality before the law. Amnesty International has urged the EU to put pressure on Ukraine to withdraw this draft law immediately.
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