Wednesday

17th Oct 2018

Ukraine law on NGOs like 'Putin's Russia'

  • Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko said the anti-corruption bill had to be signed. (Photo: president.gov.ua)

Ukrainian NGOs have denounced amendments to the country's anti-corruption legislation, which they say was changed to intimidate activists and journalists.

The bill, signed on Tuesday (28 March) by Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko, obliges any individual and organisation engaged in anti-corruption work to fill out an electronic income declaration.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union has said the law is vaguely formulated, as almost all NGOs in the country work against corruption in one way or another.

"The law risks becoming a tool for arbitrary and selective application [against civil society]," the Helsinki group said in a statement.

Oleksandra Drik, head of the board of the Civic Lustration Committee, another NGO, said the amendments "turn Ukraine into Putin's Russia by introducing essentially the same law on 'foreign agents' that destroyed all independent NGOs there".

She said the new law introduced loopholes into Ukraine's anti-corruption regime.

"Only a couple of the amendments apply to NGOs, while most of the other either restore corruption risks already cleaned out or create new ones," she said in a written statement.

NGOs and journalists have been fighting for months to ensure that lawmakers and high-ranking officials have to declare their income in an electronic register.

They have denounced efforts to derail the e-declaration system, which they said came from people close to Poroshenko.

Poroshenko said on Tuesday he had to sign the bill because it also contained provisions that were important for the country's military.

He promised to create a working group to deal with the controversial amendments, but NGOs said the bill should not have been passed in its current form in the first place.  

Ambassadors of the G7 support group, who met with Poroshenko on Tuesday, said they were worried by the changes.

The G7 club includes Germany, France, Italy, and the UK, as well as Canada, Japan, and the US.

"They were encouraged by President Poroshenko’s promise to convene a working group, including civil society, to look at recent legislative amendments,” their statement said.

“They emphasised Ukraine’s need for institutional stability as a prerequisite for further reform. They also vowed to further support Ukraine on its reform path, the ownership of which lies fully in the hands of Ukraine," it added.

EU enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn likewise said last week that the proposed changes were a roll-back of Ukraine's anti-corruption efforts and should be re-considered.

Ukraine visa deal hangs in the balance

A row over the introduction of a computer system for officials to declare their interests threatens to torpedo Ukraine's visa deal with the EU.

Focus

Denmark leads Ukraine anti-corruption drive

The EU has unveiled an anti-corruption scheme for Ukraine, amid concerns that its officials and lawmakers are undermining a key reform in the fight against villainy.

Interview

EU visa waiver unlikely to import Ukraine crime

Visa-free travel, which began last week, unlikely to prompt a Ukrainian crime wave, an EU police expert has said, but Ukraine itself is seeing increases in lawlessness.

News in Brief

  1. Poland questions supremacy of EU court
  2. Medvedev to meet Juncker and Merkel in Brussels
  3. Italians and Czechs least favourable to remaining in EU
  4. Facebook hack set to be first major test of EU data rules
  5. Barnier open to extending Brexit transition period
  6. Juncker mulls rejection of Italy's 2019 budget
  7. German justice minister to lead SPD in European elections
  8. Tusk: May should come with new Brexit proposals

Opinion

EU should brace for a more authoritarian Erdogan

The new blend of religious nationalism will be more anti-West and anti-EU, as Brussels has anything but leverage on Turkey. The first signs of this strong rhetoric are already visible.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  8. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  9. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  11. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  12. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All

Latest News

  1. Nordic region's top bank in new Russia funds complaint
  2. Why 'Spitzenkandidat' is probably here to stay
  3. EU ministers struggle to deal with Poland and Hungary
  4. Commission tried to hide details of 'WiFi4EU' glitch
  5. Brexit standoff continues before EU summit
  6. ASEM: Global Partners for Global Challenges
  7. How Juncker's 'do less' group concluded EU should not do less
  8. Cyprus and Russia: Association of Cyprus Banks responds

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us