Do we need international observers for Ukrainian Parliament?

Mar 31st, 2011 | By | Category: Against Absentee Voting of Members of Parliament, Politics, Ukraine

I had recently posted request for help into Human Rights Watch Supporters Group on LinkedIn Network.

I alerted the group members that we have a very serious problem on our country and attached a link to this article Scandalous fraud in Ukrainian Parliament, PROVEN!

I wrote: “The described practice goes on for years, we just figured recently on legal procedure to fight against it and plan to go up to The European Court of Human Rights, cause local corrupt courts are likely to dismiss our complaints. To bring up the international human right activists attention and participation on that issue we should actually tie it to human rights violation. The only way I see is Article 21.(1) of of Universal Declaration of Human Rights that states that Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives. But… how to actualize it in for international community? People simply refuse to believe it’s possible in a European country. Any input would be much appreciated”

And I got reply from Stephanie Maier who worked as a democracy and elections consultant in twelve countries in conflict and transitional regions (South Asia, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, Caribbean and & Middle East). That’s what she said:

“Natalka, I’ve worked as a democracy and elections consultant in twelve countries. I’ve not worked in the Ukraine, but I have worked in CIS states like Tajikistan and Kazakhstan. Although fraud is rampant, it’s still always shocking to see it. Those videos are powerful. This kind of corruption and power-mongering is very typical in new and inexperienced democracies (I say that knowing that America is even a young democracy, but not when compared to Ukraine and others). Much of the problem stems from a complete lack of respect for the rule of law and the democratic process, because these ideals have never been an intrinsic part of the culture. The other major factor is economic distress and the class divide. Those men in Parliament (in my opinion) see themselves as having the right to such positions and therefore the right to pass legislation that they see fit. They do not see themselves as servants of the public. The problem is so deeply rooted in cultural ignorance of democratic values coupled with economic distress that achieving pervasive change is a complex and long-term agenda.

As regards to the immediate fraud committed in the video, international observers in the Ukraine Parliament is an excellent idea. In practicality that can take a year or more to implement if funding for such a project is not already in place, which it doesn’t seem to be. This is a UN issue to be sure.

It’s a big problem, but all big problems are conquered one small step at time.”

It should be added that while Maier thinks that international observers in the Ukraine Parliament would be useful in deterring frauds like this, she was also clear that the Ukraine Parliament would very likely never consent to such a practice.

Myself and most members of our organization were in mild shock over Stephanie Maier’s comment. The line ”Do we need international observers for Ukrainian Parliament?” was suggested by a long time Canadian activist of Maidan Alliance Earl Stein and because he has no Ukrainian background, we perceived it as a witty sarcastic comment. However he confirmed later he was dead serious. And Stephanie confirmed his point.

So we are starting the not so easy process of communication with the international community on this issue and soliciting help and advice from all concerned parties.

Natalka Zubar
Coordinator at Maidan Alliance

One Comment to “Do we need international observers for Ukrainian Parliament?”

  1. earl says:

    It was not the physical size of the hundreds of Canadian RCMP officers, who were in Ukraine as election observers for the second election of the Orange Revolution, even though they were rather big and tough looking. Their mere presence and the fact, that neutral, international observers were watching, and were ready to report, made that incredible difference between the first and the second election. (Link to comparison of results?)

    The same would work again!

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