PRESS STATEMENT: New resolution on voting rights in Ukraine a key step towards guaranteeing the rights of displaced persons

16 June 2020

The United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, together with the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the Office of the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights welcome the adoption of Resolution No. 88 on the procedure of considering a voter's appeal on the change of the electoral address for all types of elections, including at the local level. The resolution was adopted by the Central Election Commission on 18 May 2020.

“We congratulate the government of Ukraine on adopting this new procedure which confirms the right of internally displaced persons to participate in local elections,” stated the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, Ms. Cecilia Jimenez-Damary.

“The resolution enables local registry authorities to accept documents such as IDP registration certificates, or residential lease contracts, to link the electoral address to the factual place of residence. The resolution eliminates direct and indirect limitations of any kind in ensuring the exercise by internally displaced persons of their voting rights”, commended Matilda Bogner, Head of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine.

“This procedure now brings Ukrainian law in line with international human rights standards, including the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, which affirm the rights of internally displaced persons to non-discrimination and equal participation in government affairs,” echoed the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. “The procedure also effectively responds to the recommendations of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities,” added the Ukrainian national human rights institution, the Office of the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights.

The resolution was adopted following the entry into force of a new Electoral Code in January 2020. The Resolution will enter into force on 1 July 2020 and will allow voters to change their voting addresses according to their factual place of residence prior to the local elections scheduled for this autumn. This provision benefits not only internally displaced persons, but all Ukrainians who change their factual place of residence, an important reform for an increasingly mobile population.

“We welcome this important first step, and encourage the government of Ukraine to ensure a transparent procedure to manage individual requests to change voting addresses to ensure that the right to vote is fully implemented and offer our assistance in this regard,” added the consortium of rights actors.

ENDS

Ms. Cecilia Jimenez-Damary, a human rights lawyer specialized in forced displacement and migration, has over three decades of experience in NGO human rights advocacy and capacity-building. She was appointed Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons by the Human Rights Council in September 2016. As a Special Rapporteur, she is part of the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization, and serve in their individual capacity. For more information and media requests, please contact: Jacqui Zalcberg (jzalcberg@ohchr.org).

The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine was deployed on 14 March 2014 to monitor and report on the human rights situation throughout Ukraine and to propose recommendations to the Government and other actors to address human rights concerns. For more information, or media requests, please contact: Tanya Tesliuchenko (consultant.tesliuchenko@ohchr.org).

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has extended protection and assistance to refugees, asylum-seekers and stateless persons in Ukraine since its office opened in 1994; since 2014, UNHCR also supports internally displaced persons in Ukraine. For further information, or media requests, please contact: Victoria Andrievska,(+380 50 4138404, andrievs@unhcr.org).

The Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights has been operating since 1998. The main task of the Commissioner is to exercise parliamentary control over the observance of constitutional human rights and freedoms. In 2014, the Commissioner's activities were expanded after about 1.5 million people in Ukraine became internally displaced persons. Currently, the Commissioner takes care of the protection of IDPs rights at the national and international levels. For further information, please contact: Volodymyr Krut (+38044-253-1053, krut@ombudsman.gov.ua).