Annual Report: Ukraine 2011

Report
May 28, 2011

Annual Report: Ukraine 2011

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  • In May, Andrei Fedosov, the chair of a mental disability rights organization, Uzer, was assaulted by unidentified men following threatening phone calls. Police refused to register his complaint and took no action. In July, he was detained for a day in relation to a crime allegedly committed 10 years before, when he was 15 years old. On 20 September the charges against him were dropped as it was proved that he was in a closed children's hospital at the time and could not have committed the crime.
  • On 29 October, trade union activist Andrei Bondarenko was ordered to undergo a forced psychiatric examination by a court in Vinnytsya. The decision was upheld on appeal in November. Andrei Bondarenko had no record of mental illness and had undergone three psychiatric examinations to prove his sanity, most recently in October. Among the reasons quoted by prosecutors for him to be examined was his "excessive awareness of his own and others' rights and his uncontrollable readiness to defend these rights in unrealistic ways". Andrei Bondarenko had defended the rights of seasonal workers in sugar beet factories in Vinnytsya district and had exposed corruption at high levels.

Refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants

Asylum-seekers in Ukraine continued to be at risk of arbitrary detention, racism and extortion at the hands of the police and return to countries where they would be at risk of serious human rights violations. An inadequate asylum system left them unprotected.

In January, the EU-Ukraine Readmission Agreement came into force for third country nationals. According to the agreement, EU states can return irregular migrants to Ukraine providing they entered the EU via Ukraine. According to the International Organization for Migration, between January and July, 590 people were returned according to the terms of the Readmission Agreement. There were reports of migrants being beaten or otherwise ill-treated while in detention. Furthermore, although the Readmission Agreement is intended to apply to "illegal aliens", asylum-seekers were reportedly among those returned.

  • At the end of the year four asylum-seekers from Uzbekistan - Umid Khamroev, Kosim Dadakhanov, Utkir Akramov and Zikrillo Kholikov - were in detention awaiting extradition to Uzbekistan. All four were wanted in Uzbekistan on charges including membership of an illegal religious or extremist organization, dissemination of materials containing a threat to public security and order, and attempts to overthrow the constitutional order. They would risk torture and other ill-treatment if returned. In July, the European Court of Human Rights made a formal request to the government not to return the asylum-seekers to Uzbekistan until their case had been considered, but withdrew this request upon assurances that the men would not be returned until they had exhausted all stages of the asylum process.

Racism

Police continued to apprehend and detain people because of the colour of their skin.