Ukraine Eases Restrictions on Human Rights as Martial Law Continues

Ukraine updates Council of Europe on eased human rights restrictions under martial law, clarifying it did not submit an application to suspend rights. The update informs the council that certain restrictions introduced in 2022 no longer apply, demonstrating Ukraine's commitment to upholding human rights.

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Nitish Verma
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Ukraine Eases Restrictions on Human Rights as Martial Law Continues

Ukraine Eases Restrictions on Human Rights as Martial Law Continues

In April 2024, rumors circulated in Ukraine that the government had submitted an application to the Council of Europe to partially suspend certain clauses of the European Convention on Human Rights, including the right to property and freedom of movement. However, this was a misinterpretation of a formal update submitted by Ukraine.

Why this matters: Ukraine's commitment to upholding human rights during a time of martial law sets a crucial precedent for other countries facing similar crises. This development also underscores the importance of international cooperation and accountability inprotecting fundamental rights.

The update, referred to as a "partial withdrawal of derogation," actually informed the Council of Europe that Ukraine was easing certain restrictions introduced in 2022, when martial law was introduced in response to the full-scale invasion. The restrictions being eased relate to Articles 4.3, 9, 13, 14, and 16 of the Convention, which cover the prohibition of slavery and forced labor, freedom of thought, conscience and religion, the right to an effective remedy, the prohibition of discrimination, and restrictions on political activity of aliens.

Ukraine's Minister of Justice, Denis Malyuska, explained on Facebook that the notification was a routine update of Ukraine's international obligations, and that the country had actually reduced the list of existing restrictions. "We actually sent a notification about the possibility of applying restrictions on certain rights almost immediately after the introduction of martial law in 2022 – this is part of our international obligations..." Malyuska stated.

Inna Liniova, international operations advisor of the Ukrainian Bar Association, further clarified that Ukraine had an obligation to inform the Council of Europe of its derogation during times of emergency, and that the recent update simply informed the council that certain restrictions no longer apply. "In essence, Ukraine let the Council of Europe know that it's fully committed to upholding the rights outlined in these articles." Liniova explained.

The European Convention on Human Rights, which came into force in 1953, is an international treaty to protect human rights and political freedoms in Europe. All 46 member states of the Council of Europe are party to the Convention. The treaty established the European Court of Human Rights, which interprets and applies the Convention.

Ukraine's recent move to ease restrictions on certain human rights, even as martial law remains in place, demonstrates the government's commitment to upholding its international obligations and protecting the fundamental rights of its citizens. As Malyuska emphasized, the update is a routine procedure, and the circulating rumors of Ukraine suspending human rights are unfounded.

Key Takeaways

  • Ukraine did not submit an application to suspend human rights, but rather updated its obligations to the Council of Europe.
  • The update eased restrictions on certain rights, including freedom of thought and prohibition of discrimination.
  • Ukraine remains committed to upholding human rights during martial law, setting a crucial precedent for other countries.
  • The European Convention on Human Rights is an international treaty to protect human rights and political freedoms in Europe.
  • Rumors of Ukraine suspending human rights are unfounded, and the update is a routine procedure.