Ukraine Reform Conference - Delegation Statement following Panel 3: Top Down Bottom Up: Integrity, Inclusivity and Governance

Toronto, Canada , 

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Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

The Council of Europe is the European continent’s leading human rights organisation.

Our Organisation has repeatedly confirmed its commitment to the principle of peaceful settlement of disputes and to the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within internationally recognised borders.

Each of our 47 member states has ratified the European Convention on Human Rights, setting common standards on human rights, democracy and the rule of law;

Each also benefits from the array of conventions that our member states have developed together, and the support that our Organisation provides for their implementation.

As an important and valued member of our Organisation, Ukraine both contributes to this work – and benefits from it.

Together, the Council of Europe and the Ukrainian authorities have developed and agreed joint Action Plans. They deliver real domestic reforms in line with European standards. The achievements of our co-operation have been significant.

In the justice sector, there have been important amendments to the constitution – in light of recommendations from our Venice Commission – as well as judicial reforms including new laws on the status of judges and the High Council of Justice.

In terms of the media, with Council of Europe support, a genuine and thriving public broadcasting system has been put in place, and the transparency of media ownership increased.

When it comes to decentralisation, over 900 new territorial communities have been established, each with real powers in line with Council of Europe standards.

Meanwhile, free legal aid has been extended to vulnerable groups and made available in civil and administrative cases;

While the powers of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau and the National Anti-Corruption Prevention Agency have been strengthened, their effectiveness needs to be further increased.

We also worked together to increase inter-agency co-operation to tackle violence against women and children.

So the progress is clear – but there is more to do in order to make the result irreversible.

The current Action Plan runs until 2021. Its €30 million budget is financed through partnerships with the European Union and member and observer states, including Canada.

It covers continued support for the independence and efficiency of justice, the functioning of the public broadcaster, the fight against economic crime as well as the protection of minority, IDP, social rights and consolidating decentralisation.

Ukraine plays an important role in the Council of Europe’s family of nations, a family that includes among its observer states such as Canada, USA, Japan and Mexico.

All together in the months and years ahead, we are ready to support the national authorities in their efforts to bring laws, institutions and practice into line with the high standards to which we all aspire.

This is a challenge that we readily accept.

Thanks to Canada for hosting this important event.