Data protection is one of the priorities today, especially in the context of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. The Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights is entrusted, among others, with the functions of monitoring compliance of the data protection legislation application pursuant to the national legislation of Ukraine and the Council of Europe Convention 108.
On February 21, 2023, 65 participants joined the discussion on the judicial practice of data protection law application in Ukraine.
The event was a joint initiative of the Ukrainian Parliament Committee on Human Rights, Deoccupation and Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories in Donetsk, Luhansk Regions and Autonomous Republic of Crimea, National Minorities and Interethnic Relations together, the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights and the Council of Europe Project “Supporting Implementation of the European Human Rights Standards in Ukraine”.
In the welcoming speech, Dmytro Lubinets, Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, emphasized efficient cooperation between the Ombudsperson’s Office and the Council of Europe in the field of data protection. He expressed gratitude for the expert support provided in the process of the new data protection legislation development, and relevant awareness raising initiatives including the development of the course on “Personal Data Protection” which is available at the Edera Education platform for all interested to enhance their knowledge on data protection. The Commissioner stressed the importance of this training course for civil servants in the growth of their professional qualification in the field of data protection.
Lilia Gretarsdottir, Head of the Cooperation Programs Department of the Council of Europe, confirmed that the Council of Europe stands ready to provide further comprehensive support to Ukraine in its strong intention to become closer to the EU membership despite the challenges brought by the ongoing war of aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine. She emphasised the importance of aligning the national data protection legislation with the Council of Europe Convention 108+ and its Protocols as well as positively assessed the work of the Ukrainian authorities in modernisation of the data protection legislation.
Taras Tarasenko, Head of the Subcommittee on Human Rights of the Parliament Committee for Human Rights, informed the participants about the intention to submit both Draft laws – “On Personal Data Protection” and “On National Commission in the field of Data Protection and Access to Public Information” as one package to the Verkhovna Rada for first reading in the nearest future.
As evidenced by the analysis of the national courts’ decisions on application of the personal data protection law, many aspects require aligning, both at the legislative level so as practice of the legislation application with the European standards and best practices of data protection. This was emphasized by the Council of Europe consultant, associate professor of the Department of General Theoretical Jurisprudence and Public Law, Executive Director of the Center for Research on the Rule of Law of the National University "Kyiv-Mohyla Academy", Mr. Volodymyr Venher.
The Council of Europe Consultants prepared the first systemic analysis of the decisions of the general jurisdiction courts (10000 decisions were subject to analysis) with regard application of the current Law of Ukraine on “Personal Data Protection”. The participants of the round table got acquainted with the generalized catalogue of the data protection principles which have to be observed: legality, purposefulness, proportionality, accuracy, accountability, and protection of personal data. Special attention was paid to such issues as the legality and fairness of the personal data use, as well as the responsibility of the officials. Among the specific issues raised by the participants of the round table was the application of the data protection legislation in the time of the ongoing war of the Russian Federation against Ukraine and feasible derogation if any possible in this context.
The round table was one of a series of events supported by the Council of Europe to increase the awareness of the national authorities, including the Ombudsperson’s Office on personal data protection and effective implementation of the European human rights standards in Ukraine. The participants expressed their strong intention for further cooperation that requires the active involvement of the Parliament, the Ombudsperson's Office, the expert community, and civil society.
The Council of Europe project "Supporting Implementation of the European Human Rights Standards in Ukraine" is aimed at assisting the Ukrainian authorities in the effective implementation of the European human rights standards, combating ill-treatment and rehabilitation of victims of torture, strengthening the operational capacity of the Ombudsperson’s Office, as well as supporting data the modernisation of the data protection legislation in Ukraine.