Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
Report

Introduction

The following information reports U.S. Government priorities and activities of the U.S. mission in Ukraine to promote democracy and human rights. For background on Ukraine's human rights conditions, please see the 2009 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices and the International Religious Freedom Reports at www.state.gov.

Part 1: U.S. Government Democracy Objectives

The U.S. Government's strategy for promoting human rights and supporting democratic gains focuses on democratic practice and human rights compliant with European and Euro-Atlantic standards including governmental effectiveness, accountability, and transparency; strengthened civil society; greater adherence to the rule of law; an independent judiciary; strengthened anticorruption efforts; greater integrity in the electoral process; and independent media.

The United States commended the open and competitive election process during the January and February rounds of presidential elections, which received a positive assessment by international observers, including the U.S. Helsinki Commission's delegation. A resolution approved by the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee on March 4 acknowledged that major reforms undertaken in recent years, including “the development of a pluralistic and independent press and the establishment of public institutions that respect human rights and the rule of law, have enhanced Ukraine’s progress toward democracy and prosperity.”

Part 2: Supporting Top Priorities and Other Aspects of Human
Rights and Democratic Governance

Robust U.S. assistance strengthens democratic governance by contributing to a more professional, transparent, and accountable judiciary. More than 2,500 justice sector personnel benefit from rule of law and human rights training and technical assistance. The United States is supporting the development of a new Council of Europe-compliant draft Criminal Procedure Code and is focused on working with partners to introduce that draft legislation into parliament. Other U.S. assistance is strengthening the rule of law by increasing judicial transparency and effectiveness by improving judicial operations, developing key judicial reforms, and widening access to justice. A new U.S.-funded program will expand access to the courts for marginalized and under-represented communities through work with legal clinics, advocacy organizations, and pro-bono lawyers. The United States emphasizes capacity building for the country's border security services as a means of strengthening respect for and protection of human rights. The United States continues to assist the State Border Guard Service to reform its training system to meet European Union standards, including those on human rights.

U.S. assistance for political processes is strengthening internal party governance, educating young political leaders, and building stronger links between parliamentarians and their constituencies. In each of the two rounds of the 2010 presidential elections, U.S. funding supported approximately 1,000 domestic and 450 international observers across the country. U.S. assistance provided legal training for political party and civil society lawyers and administrative court judges and helped implement the parallel vote tabulation. In addition, media programs are improving journalism quality via investigative reporting, media literacy training, and organizational capacity building, as well as stimulating vanguard civil society efforts employing social media and other innovative networking techniques. U.S. antitrafficking programs also engage both civil service organizations and governmental institutions: civil society advocacy campaigns encourage government action to combat and prevent trafficking via technical training assistance, improved enforcement, and victim protection practices. U.S. programs support freedom of association and labor rights by urging reforms in the labor sector in line with European principles, opposing exclusionary social dialogue legislation that did not meet international standards and publicizing violations of worker rights. U.S. assistance supported the development of independent and democratic trade unions, greater participation of women in labor leadership roles, and adoption of amendments to the new labor code.

The United States significantly increased its democratization assistance in Crimea by expanding existing programs in civil society, media, and governance to target regional issues. For example, U.S. governance projects are partnering with the Crimean regional parliament to strengthen ties with the national parliament and build local capacity. Examples of other successful grants include funding the exit poll for the 2010 presidential elections; supporting the monitoring of rights of persons with disabilities and HIV-positive persons; contributing to anti-xenophobia initiatives; and supporting a public awareness campaign by Green Wave ecological club focused on the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. The United States makes use of professional exchange programs, such as the International Visitors Leadership Program and the Open World Program, to facilitate the participation of government decision-makers at all levels and NGO activists in good governance and human rights practice study visits. About 100 individuals from Ukraine are visiting the United States in the 2009-2010 academic year on U.S.-sponsored academic exchange programs. In addition, approximately 300 high school students are participating in the Future Leaders Exchange Program to gain understanding of the United States and its democratic values.

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