Ukraine Human Rights
Human Rights Concerns
The human rights situation in Ukraine can be described as uneven at best. A relatively new country, independent only since 1991, Ukraine has struggled socially, economically, and politically in its transformation to a democratic and free-market system.
Torn between the East and the West, Ukraine's geographic location further complicates its transformation. However, November of 2004 marked a potentially historic transformation in the human rights situation in Ukraine. In what is now commonly known as the "Orange Revolution" Ukrainians took to the streets after refusing to accept a fraudulent election, which lead to an unprecedented revote and the democratic election of Viktor Yushchenko. Ukraine's new president has promised "I will do all I can to make democratic changes in my country irreversible so that the fundamental principles of the Council of Europe---protection of human rights, pluralistic democracy, and the rule of law?prevail in our country."
If the Ukrainian government is going to achieve these goals it will have to address the allegations of police-ill-treatment and torture at the arrest and pre-trial detention stage, an issue brought to light in a report published by Amnesty International in October of this year. Additionally, in recent years the right of freedom of expression has also come under increased pressure from Ukrainian authorities. The abduction and possible killing of the investigative journalist, Georgiy Gongadze, is the most well-known of this abuse of press freedom. Finally Anti-Semitic and racist attacks have been reported throughout the country and the trafficking of women for sexual exploitation remains a serious concern.