Ukraine: Whether supporters or members of opposition parties are subject to mistreatment by the current administration of Viktor Iouchtchenko or by the police or other state organ; whether members or supporters of Julia Tymoshenko's party or bloc are at any risk; whether supporters of the previous regime are at risk (December 2004 - December 2005)
|Publisher||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa|
|Publication Date||21 December 2005|
|Citation / Document Symbol||UKR100683.E (corrected March 2007)|
|Cite as||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ukraine: Whether supporters or members of opposition parties are subject to mistreatment by the current administration of Viktor Iouchtchenko or by the police or other state organ; whether members or supporters of Julia Tymoshenko's party or bloc are at any risk; whether supporters of the previous regime are at risk (December 2004 - December 2005), 21 December 2005, UKR100683.E (corrected March 2007), available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/45f1480811.html [accessed 26 April 2015]|
|Comments||Corrected version March 2007. Re-corrected version added 16 March 2009.|
A corrected version of this Response was published on the Refworld site at the request of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, 16 March 2009
Information regarding the treatment of members or supporters of opposition parties was scarce and information specific to members or supporters of Julia Tymoshenko's party (Batkivshchyna or Batkivschina) (Ukrainian Pravda 24 Nov. 2005; Yulia Tymoshenko n.d.) could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.
In an Amnesty International press release, it is reported that "Ukraine has a bad record on Freedom of Expression" and "the new administration must strive to ensure that nobody is detained or harassed by law enforcement officers for the peaceful expression of their views" (24 Jan. 2005). In a media briefing, Amnesty International also reported that it "urged the then Minister of Internal Affairs to ensure that law enforcement officers fully respect ... rights to freedom of expression and assembly. ... However, opposition supporters were detained, and some protesters were ill-treated by police" (11 May 2005). No mention was made as to specific identification of an opposition party.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe reported in September 2005 that illegal eavesdropping on public figures of the opposition remained a problem (19 Sept. 2005, 63) and of concern was the fact that more than 18,000 employees in the executive had been replaced since the beginning of 2005 when Iouchtchenko was elected President (ibid., 10-11).
Many sources reported that public figures or members of the opposition were being prosecuted for actions that occurred prior to Iouchtchenko's coming to power (RIA Novosti 1 July 2005; Ukrainian Pravda 11 Feb. 2005; Ukraine Daily Report 11 Feb. 2005). Some sources indicated that this treatment amounted to "political persecution" or that the general treatment of opposition supporters should be considered "political persecution" (Pravda 16 June 2005; ForUm 7 April 2005; RIA Novosti 1 July 2005; Ukrainian Pravda 11 Feb. 2005; Ukraine Daily Report 11 Feb. 2005; Ukraine Now 27 Sept. 2005). According to Ukraine Now, Ombudsperson "Karpachova informed that the number of appeals concerning violation of political and personal rights grew this year" and "[t]o our great regret, the state is the major violator of human rights and freedoms" (8 July 2005).
However, in a press conference, President Iouchtchenko was quoted as saying that he "would not tolerate political persecutions and was ready to personally step in if he learned of such cases" (ForUm 6 Oct. 2005). In addition, Hanne Severinsen, Vice-President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and PACE Monitoring Committee co-rapporteur on Ukraine, stated, "I don't think we can speak about political persecutions here. Indeed, it appears that there were some procedural violations, although not gross ones, during the prosecution of some former officials. However, I don't think that criminal investigations on the allegations of corruption and election fraud are politically motivated" (Ukrainian Pravda 21 Sept. 2005).
One article reports "Yushchenko particularly stressed that those who 'pushed' students (i.e. asked them to vote for his main opponent in the presidential elections – Viktor Yanukovych) should leave their positions" (Ukraine Now 3 June 2005). The article goes on to give several examples of teachers or professors who were mistreated or dismissed because they supported opposition parties (ibid.).
After the arrest and detention of Borys Kolesnykov, Council for the Donetsk region and representative of the previous regime, Iouchtchenko supporters alleged that Kolesnykov was arrested on various charges in accordance with the law, while opposition members protested that his arrest amounted to "political persecution" (Eurasia Daily Monitor 11 Apr. 2005; RFE/RL 12 Apr. 2005; ibid. 8 Apr. 2005; Pravda 8 Apr. 2005).
In a September meeting between President Iouchtchenko and opposition leader Yanukovych, both parties came to an agreement and signed a document to demonstrate their intention to cooperate (Orange Revolution 25 Sept. 2005; Untimely Thoughts 23 Sept. 2005). One of the clauses of this agreement provided that Iouchtchenko's party would put a stop to "persecution" of members of the opposition (ibid.).
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Amnesty International (AI). 11 May 2005. "Ukraine: Songs, 'Revolution' and Human Rights." (EUR 50/003/2005)
_____. 24 January 2005. "Ukraine: Amnesty International Urges New President to Improve Human Rights." (EUR 50/001/2005)
Council of Europe (COE). 19 September 2005. Parliamentary Assembly. "Honouring of Obligations and Commitments by
Eurasia Daily Monitor. 11 April 2005. Vol. 2, Iss. 70. Oleg Varfolomeyev. The Jamestown Foundation. "Yushchenko Opponent Imprisoned, Suspected of Extortion."
ForUm. 6 October 2005. "President Says There will Be No Political Persecution."
_____. 7 April 2005. "Donetsk Wants 'Ukraine Without Yushchenko'."
Orange Revolution. 25 September 2005. "Text of Cooperation Pact."
Pravda [Moscow]. 16 June 2005. "Former Ukrainian Premier Calls for Political Amnesty for Previous Government." News from Russia Website.
_____. 8 April 2005. "A Leader of Anti-Yushchenko Opposition Arrested: Head of Donbass Was Detained as a Criminal." News from Russia Website.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL). 12 April 2005. Valentinas Mite. "Ukraine: Politician's Arrest Galvanizes Opposition."
_____. 8 April 2005. Yuri Svirko. "Ukraine: Protestors Rally in Support of Arrested Donetsk Head."
Russian News & Information Agency (RIA Novosti). 1 July 2005. "Mass Prosecution of Ukrainian Opposition Members Violates Human Rights."
Ukraine Daily Report [Kiev]. 11 February 2005. Vol. 3, No. 25. "Nestor Shufrych Reports Alleged Persecution of SDPU(o)."
Ukraine Now. 27 September 2005. "V. Medvedchuk: The President Has Started Acknowledging the Authorities' Errors."
_____. 8 July 2005. "Ombudsperson Karpachova Reports Mass Dismissals for Political Reasons."
_____. 3 June 2005. "Rectors of Higher Education Establishments Persecuted for Political Views."
Ukrainian Pravda. 24 November 2005. "Tymoshenko Never Cribbed and Wants Students To Be Fashionable."
_____. 21 September 2005. Viktor Dmytrun. "Hanne Severinsen: As to Whether to Call Mr Kuchma a Dictator, I Guess Technically It's Incorrect."
_____. 11 February 2005. "Shufrych Complains of the Persecution."
Untimely Thoughts. 23 September 2005. Peter Lavelle. "Analysis: Concessions Yushchenko Made to Resolve Ukraine's Political Crisis."
Yulia Tymoshenko. N.d. "Biography of Yulia Tymoshenko."
Additional Sources Consulted
Internet sites, including: Asylum Law, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), British Helsinki Human Rights Group, Cable News Network (CNN), Central Europe Review, Comité de liaison pour la solidarité avec l'europe de l'est (COLISEE), Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), European Union, Encyclopedia of Ukraine, European Country of Origin Information Network, Factiva, ForUm, Freedom House, Human Rights Internet, Human Rights Watch, Info Ukes, Institute for War & Peace Reporting, International Crisis Group (ICG), International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), International Helsinki Federation, The Jamestown Foundation, Kharkiv Group for Human Rights Protection, Kiev City Guide, Maidan, Minority Electronic Resources, Publius Pundit, Ukraine Political, The Ukrainian Weekly, United Kingdom Home Office Country Information, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), United States Committee for Refugees, United States Department of State.