The results of a relevant monitoring report "Situation of human rights defenders and civil society activists in Ukraine in 2020" within the EU-funded project "Increasing the Role and Protection of Human Rights Defenders in Ukraine" implemented by the ZMINA Human Rights Centre were presented at Ukrinform news agency.
"In 2020, ZMINA recorded a total of 101 incidents of persecution for civil society activism or actions to protect human rights. Most of them occurred in February (11), September (13) and December (12), the least - 5 incidents each - in August and November. Coronavirus quarantine restrictions in the spring months did not reduce the number and intensity of persecution incidents, including abuse of attempts to held activists administratively liable for peaceful assemblies, though most of those protocols were revoked by the courts,” ZMINA researcher Anastasiya Moskvychova said.
Among the documented incidents were attempts to intimidate activists (22), physical assaults (21) destruction of or damage to their property (18), incidents with signs of legal prosecution (10), defamation campaigns (9), obstruction of peaceful assembly (7), incidents with signs of illegal detention or search (7), obstruction of activities of NGOs (3).
In only four of the 21 incidents, suspected attackers were served with the notices of charges.
As in previous years, civil society activists and human rights defenders were persecuted in most regions of Ukraine. However, the largest number of incidents took place in Kyiv city (44) Odesa region (10), Kyiv region (8), Dnipropetrovsk region (8), Kharkiv region (6), Lviv region (3).
According to the monitoring results, the riskiest types of public activity in 2020 were: fight against corruption (20), protection of rights of LGBTQ people (19) and environmental protection (9).
The document also notes that 12 bills were registered in the Verkhovna Rada in 2020 which, is passed, can pose a threat to the civil society, violate the Constitution and international obligations of Ukraine in the field of human rights and unlawfully restrict the freedom of association in Ukraine.
The project “Increasing the Role and Protection of Human Rights Defenders in Ukraine” is implemented by the ZMINA Human Rights Centre in partnership with the Netherlands Helsinki Committee with the financial support of the European Union. The project focuses on legal and operational protection and support for human rights defenders and anti-corruption activists in Ukraine, enhancement the positive role of human rights defenders in society and formation of links between them, increase in the number of effective investigations into attacks on human rights defenders and activists, and more. The project implementation lasts from 2019 to 2022.
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