Yulia Lovochkina: Cooperation with Council of Europe is Important Provision for Ukraine’s Democratic Development and Citizens’ Rights Guarantees
This year marks 26 years since Ukraine acquired membership in the Council of Europe. Joining this respectful international organization signified Ukraine’s aspirations to be a civilized, democratic, and law-governed nation. The Council of Europe is the first international organization that appeared on the European continent after the World War II, retaining its efficiency and influence in the sectors of democracy, rule of law, and human rights. To earn trust from our European partners, the Ukrainian government must abandon its selectivity and double standard policy and fulfill its international obligations to the Council of Europe in full. This was stated by a member of the Ukrainian PACE delegation, OPPOSITION PLATFORM – FOR LIFE MP Yulia Lovochkina.
The Council of Europe assists its member states in implementing democratic and institutional transformations. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is an important platform for the exchange of best practices among parliamentarians and for monitoring progress in fulfilling commitments by the member states of the Council of Europe. The European Court of Human Rights, in turn, offers additional opportunities for our citizens to protect a wide range of their rights.
Lovochkina said that by joining the Council of Europe, Ukraine reaffirmed its commitment to the values of democracy, the comprehensive provision of the rule of law, as well as to guaranteeing human rights. Having ratified more than 90 international treaties and conventions as part of the Council of Europe, Ukraine has assumed several international legal obligations in various fields.
“Unfortunately, recently the Ukrainian government began deviating from proper guarantees of the rights provided for by its international obligations. Increasingly, Ukraine is adopting laws and decisions that run counter to the principles and values of the Council of Europe. For instance, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted in 2015–2016 several resolutions on Ukraine, in which repeatedly called on the Ukrainian authorities to ensure the implementation of the Minsk agreements, to provide for pluralism of opinions by properly guaranteeing freedom of speech and the rights of the opposition, and secure cultural diversity by guaranteeing linguistic, educational, and cultural rights of ethnic minorities.
“Our European partners also expect us to revise the unjust and anti-democratic legislation on civil servants screening. But past and present administrations ignore the recommendations by the Venice Commission for Democracy through Law, while execution of judgments by the ECHR is unsatisfactory. This causes huge damage to Ukraine’s reputation and forms negative perceptions of the Ukrainian nation on the international arena,” the opposition politician stressed.
Lovochkina believes that to restore trust from our European partners, the Ukrainian government must abandon its selectivity and double standard policy and fulfill its international obligations in full.
“We need consistent efforts aimed at eliminating problems in the functioning of democratic institutions in Ukraine, and not pursue the path of conflicts, like the previous government did in 2019 by canceling the invitation of the PACE Mission to observe the parliamentary elections and suspending the work of the Ukrainian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly. Ukraine has two paths: it either continues striving to be a nation in which human rights are respected and confirms its intentions in practice, or we will end up among uncivilized countries who cannot hope for full-fledged partnership with the democratic community. And this will become a real national defeat,” Lovochkina summed up.