Ukraine is a Member State of the Council of Europe (COE) and of the United Nations (UN), and has human rights obligations at the regional and universal levels.
Regional: European System
As a Member of the COE, Ukraine has ratified the European Convention on Human Rights and is subject to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights. Ukraine has ratified the Revised European Social Charter, but has not authorized the European Committee of Social Rights to decide collective complaints against it. Its human rights policies and practices are also monitored by the COE Commissioner for Human Rights, who identifies gaps in human rights protection, conducts country visits, engages in dialogue with States, and prepares thematic reports and advice.
Individuals and groups have submitted complaints of human rights violations committed by Ukraine to the European Court of Human Rights. For example, the Court found Ukraine responsible for violating the right to life in the case of a man who died from a lack of medical treatment while in pre-trial detention. See ECtHR, Kats and Others v. Ukraine, no. 29971/04, ECHR 2009, Judgment of 18 March 2009. Additionally, the Court may grant interim measures to protect people in urgent situations of risk in Ukraine.
As a State party to the Revised European Social Charter, Ukraine must submit yearly reports to the European Committee of Social Rights on its implementation of the Charter’s provisions.
Ukraine is a party to the following regional human rights treaties:
- European Convention on Human Rights and several of its protocols
- Revised European Social Charter
- COE Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings
- European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
- Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
United Nations System
As a UN Member State, Ukraine is subject to the oversight of various UN human rights bodies, including the Human Rights Council and its Universal Periodic Review and thematic special procedures. As a party to specific universal human rights treaties, Ukraine’s policies and practices are monitored by UN treaty bodies. It has accepted the complaints procedure of seven treaty bodies.
Ukraine has ratified the following UN human rights treaties:
- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
- International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)
- Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)
- Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (CED)
- Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)
- Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
- Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
- International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)
- International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (CMW)
Ukraine has also ratified the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR aimed at abolishing the death penalty, and optional protocols to the CRC addressing children in armed conflict and the sale of children, child prostitution, and child pornography. Ukraine has a duty to submit State teports to the UN treaty body associated with each UN human rights treaty Ukraine has ratified. These reports must be submitted on a periodic basis and describe the steps Ukraine has taken to implement the treaty provisions.
Ukraine has also ratified optional protocols and made appropriate declarations allowing individuals to submit complaints against the State alleging violations of the ICCPR, CEDAW, CAT, CED, CRPD, CRC, and CERD. Additionally, Ukraine has accepted the inquiry procedures, for allegations of grave or systematic human rights violations, of the CAT, CED, CEDAW, and CRPD.
On June 23, 2006, Ukraine extended a standing invitation to UN special procedures, which means that any such mandate holders are welcome to conduct visits in Ukraine. For example, the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of expression visited Ukraine in 2007 and published a visit report in 2008.
For more information on Ukraine’s engagement with UN human rights bodies, visit http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/ENACARegion/Pages/UAIndex.aspx.
Last updated: February 2020