United Nations


International Human Rights Instruments

Distr.: General

30 January 2018

Original: English

Common core document forming part of the reports of States parties

Ukraine *

[Date received: 9 January 2018]

General information about Ukraine

Geopolitical characteristics

1.Geographic location. Ukraine is a country in the South-Eastern Europe within the East European plain, bordering with Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Moldova, Russia and Belarus. Ukraine has an access to the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. The main waterway is the river Dnipro.

2.Territory. Ukraine — the largest state among those entirely located within Europe with the area of 603.628 sq. km.

3.Length of territory from West to East — 1316 km; from North to South — 893 km.

4.Length of the borders: total — 6.993 km; land — 5.638 km; sea — 1.355 km.

5.Climate. Within the East European plain (95 per cent of the area), as well as the middle-high Ukrainian Carpathians and the Crimean Mountains (5 per cent of the area), the climate is mostly moderately continental, on the southern coast of Crimea — with signs of subtropical.

Fundamentals of the state system

6.Ukraine is a unitary parliamentary-presidential democratic republic and has a multi-party political system. The main law of the state is the Constitution. In Ukrainian system of state power, there is a principle of separation of powers into three independent branches which are legislative, executive and judicial.

7.The administrative and territorial arrangements. Administrative and territorial system of Ukraine is represented on three levels. The first level is the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, regions (24), cities with a special status (Kyiv and Sevastopol). The second (basic) level is the districts (490), cities (460) among them the cities of regional and republican subordination (189). The third (primary) level — urban-type settlements (885), and villages (28377). Districts in cities (111) are territorial units that do not form their own governing bodies.

8.Legislative power. The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine is a sole legislative power body. The President is responsible before the Verkhovna Rada, the Parliament can declare impeachment to the President.

9.Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of VIII convocation was elected at the extraordinary elections of 26 October 2014. Members of the Parliament have acquired the powers on 27 November 2014. The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine consists of 450 members of the Parliament. At present, Andriy Parubiy is the Head of the Parliament.

10.The competence of the Parliament includes, in particular, the development, adoption, and monitoring of the implementation of laws, approval of the state budget, ratification of international agreements, the appointment of an all-Ukrainian referendum.

11.Members of the Parliament are elected for a five-year term through direct elections held under a mixed system: 225 members of the Parliament are elected by proportional representation on the electoral lists of candidates from political parties and 225 by the majority system of relative majority in single-mandate electoral districts.

12.Currently, 52 women are members of the Verkhovna Rada, which is 11.6 per cent of the total number of members of the Parliament. This is the maximum indicator ever of its functioning (in the Verkhovna Rada of the VII convocation — 9.9 per cent, and in the Verkhovna Rada of I convocation — 2.3 per cent).

13.Executive power. The head of the state is the President. Petro Poroshenko is the sitting President of Ukraine — elected by 54.7 per cent of voters on 25 May 2014. The President also acts as the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The President is elected for five years through a secret ballot on the basis of public and direct elections. The same person cannot be in office as the president for more than two terms in a row.

14.The Government of Ukraine is the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, headed by the Prime Minister. Currently, Volodymyr Groisman is the Prime Minister.

15.The Government consists of Prime Minister, First Deputy Prime Minister, deputy prime ministers and ministers.

16.The share of female ministers in the Government has increased from 0 per cent in 2010 to 12.5 per cent in 2017.

17.The share of women appointed to the position of senior civil service in 2016 was 16.7 per cent.

18.The share of women among highest positions within local self-government bodies has increased from 6.7 per cent in 2013 to 14.5 per cent in 2016.

19.Judicial power. Justice is carried out in Ukraine exclusively by the courts. The jurisdiction of the courts covers all legal disputes. The judiciary in Ukraine is built upon the principles of territoriality and specialization.

20.In 2016 the Parliament adopted amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine concerning the judiciary and amended the Law “On Judiciary and the Status of Judges”. These amendments launched the judicial reform in Ukraine, the important consequences of which is, in particular, the introduction of transparent and independent competitions for judges in new Supreme Court of Ukraine and introduction of the High Court on Intellectual Property and High Anti-Corruption Court.

21.The judicial system of Ukraine consists of local courts, appeal courts and the Supreme Court. The creation of extraordinary and special courts is not allowed.

22.The courts are specialized in the consideration of civil, criminal, commercial, administrative cases, as well as cases of administrative offenses. Also, the specialization of judges for the consideration of specific categories of cases may be introduced.

23.The Supreme Court is the highest court in the judicial system of Ukraine.

24.The Constitutional Court of Ukraine is functioning according to the Law “On the Constitutional Court of Ukraine”. It is the only body of constitutional jurisdiction in Ukraine and is a separate and independent from the courts of general jurisdiction. It may not be a cassation, appeal or supervisory authority for courts of general jurisdiction.

25.Commissioner of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine for Human Rights (Ombudsman). Parliamentary control over observance of constitutional rights and freedoms of person and citizen, protection of the rights of everyone on the territory of Ukraine and within its jurisdiction on a permanent basis is carried out by the Commissioner of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine for human rights. Since 2008, the exercise of control over the provision of equal rights and opportunities for women and men belongs to the functions of the Commissioner. Since the creation of the institution of the Commissioner of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine for human rights, this position was occupied only by women, and Valeriia Lutkovska holds the post now.

26.Political parties. In accordance with the Law of Ukraine “On Political Parties in Ukraine”, the right to create a political party has a group of Ukrainian citizens of not less than 100 people. All parties are obliged to recognize the principles of the Constitution of Ukraine as the main law of the state.

27.As of 18 January 2017, 352 political parties are officially registered in Ukraine. In the last parliamentary elections that took place on 26 October 2014, 29 of the registered parties took part. Six parties overcame the passing threshold of 5 per cent of the votes, established by the law.

28.In 2013 the Law “On Political Parties” introduced public financing of political parties, and foresaw additional financing for parties reaching 1/3 gender quota in the party list. In 2015 the Law “On Local Elections” foresaw a 30 per cent gender quota in party lists for local elections. Amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On Political Parties in Ukraine” from 2015, which entered into force on 1 July 2016, introduced annual state financing of the statutory activities of political parties, reimbursement of party expenses for election campaigning and the establishment of restrictions on the amount of contributions in support of political parties by individuals and legal entities.

29.Language. In accordance with Article 10 of the Constitution of Ukraine, the official State language is Ukrainian. The Constitution also guarantees free development, use and protection of Russian and other languages of national minorities. The Law of Ukraine “On the Basics of State Language Policy” defines the right of every citizen of Ukraine to linguistic self-determination.

Demographic data and religion

30.The permanent population of Ukraine as of 1 January 2017, totalled 42.414.900 people, which is 1.032.600 people less than as of 1 January 2010.

31.The gender percentage ratio in the total population in 2010–2016 has not changed and makes up to 53.8–53.9 per cent of women among the total population.

32.The average age of entering into the first marriage among women in 2016 remained at the level of 2012 — 24.1 years old. Among men over the same period, this age has increased from 26.7 years old to 27.9 years old. The average age of women when giving birth to the first child over the same period has increased from 24.1 years old to 25.3 years old. Total birth rate in 2010 was 10.8 persons per 1.000 people of the existing population, in 2016 it is 10.3. The proportion of children born out of wedlock in 2010 was 21.9 per cent, in 2016 — 20.1 per cent. The natural population decline in 2010 was 200.500 people, in 2016 — 186.600 people. The migration gain of the population in 2010 was 16.100 people, in 2016 — 10.600 people.

33.As of 1 January 2017, 69.2 per cent of the Ukrainian population inhabited cities and urban settlements.

34.Composition of the population in terms of nationalities. At present, the nationality of a citizen of Ukraine is not indicated in the passport and other identification documents. The titular nation of Ukraine is represented by Ukrainians, making 77.82 per cent according to the last census of 2001. The second nation by population is Russians (17.28 per cent). Relatively large ethnic groups of the population of Ukraine are: Belorussians (0.57 per cent), Moldovans (0.54 per cent), Crimean Tatars (0.51 per cent), Bulgarians (0.42 per cent), Hungarians (0.32 per cent), Romanians (0.31 per cent), Poles (0.30 per cent). In general, representatives of over 110 nationalities and ethnic groups inhabit the territory of Ukraine.

35.11–15 million ethnic Ukrainians are living outside of Ukraine (in Russia, USA, Canada, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Romania, Poland, Brazil, Argentina and Australia).

36.Religion. All citizens of Ukraine are free and equal in their rights and freedoms. Every citizen is entitled to hold his/her own world-view and religious beliefs. The Church and other religious organizations in Ukraine are separate from the State, and the schools are separate from the Church. Ukraine has created conditions for all religious organizations to engage freely in their activities. This is especially important for Ukraine, whereas there are almost 100 religious denominations, communities, and movements. At the beginning of 2017, there were 35.900 religious organizations registered in Ukraine, 54.1 per cent of them are Orthodox, 14.3 per cent — Catholic, 28.7 per cent — Protestant, 1.0 per cent — Judaic; 0.7 per cent — Muslim, 0.4 per cent — Eastern cults, 0.8 per cent — other organizations.

37.There are 515 monasteries, thousands of temples, 202 religious schools and nearly 13 thousand Sunday schools in Ukraine. More than 500 periodicals of religious nature are published.

Economic indicators

38.The economic situation in Ukraine. According to the results of the first quarter of 2017, the growth of Ukraine’s economy was fixed, specifically real GDP (in the calculation of the first quarter of 2017 and the first quarter of 2016) increased by 2.5 per cent. The recovery growth trend was set back in the second half of 2015 and intensified in 2016 mainly due to internal factors. Thus, in the fourth quarter of 2016 In relation to the corresponding quarter of the previous year, there was a growth of GDP in 4.8 per cent, while in the third quarter GDP grew by 2.3 per cent, in the second quarter — by 1.5 per cent and by 0.1 per cent in the first quarter. In general, in 2016, GDP grew by 2.3 per cent. The volume of industrial production in May 2017 compared with May 2016 increased by 1.2 per cent. The most significant growth in the manufacture covers basic pharmaceuticals (23.7 per cent), engineering (14.7 per cent), manufacture of furniture, other products, repair and installation of machinery and equipment (14.5 per cent) and the production of food products, beverages and tobacco products (7.7 per cent).

39.In the first half of 2017, the consumer price index (inflation index, June 2017 to December 2016) was 107.9 per cent and is in the last year’s trend.

40.The index of industrial producer prices in the first half of 2017 amounted to 106.1 per cent (from June 2017 to December 2016).

41.According to the results of January–May 2017, the index of industrial output declined by 1.3 per cent.

42.As a result of the increase in the minimum wage and moderate inflation rates (up to 3200 UAH from 1 January 2017), in January–May 2017 the real wage growth was observed at 19.8 per cent. The nominal average monthly salary of full-time employees in January–May 2017 increased by 36.8 per cent to UAH 6.494.

43.In 2016, the unemployment rate in the ILO methodology was 9.3 per cent, which is by 1.1 per cent more than in 2015, among women, the unemployment rate for the same years increased from 6.9 per cent to 7.7 per cent. However, hidden unemployment remains substantial.

44.In retail trade, the turnover in January–June 2016 increased by 7.3 per cent. Disposable income, which can be used by the population for the purchase of goods and services, in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the corresponding period in 2016 increased by 16.6 per cent and amounted to UAH 354.6 billion. Real disposable income in the first quarter of 2017 increased by 2.4 per cent compared to the corresponding period in 2016.

45.According to the preliminary calculations of the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine, in the period from January to September 2016, the shadow economy was 35 per cent of the official GDP, which is 5 percentage points less than the corresponding period of 2015. This, in particular, indicates an improvement in the business climate due to the deregulation policy and the optimization of the functioning of the public sector in order to increase its efficiency.

46.Investments. The investment legislation exists in Ukraine, adjusted to the norms and standards of the EU, today, 73 bilateral agreements on promotion and protection of investments have been signed, 57 of which are valid. On the territory of Ukraine, a national regime of investment activity is applied to foreign investors, provides equal conditions of activity with domestic investors, as well as the most favoured regime, if provided by bilateral investment agreements. For registered foreign investments, guarantees are provided to a foreign investor in the course of investment activity in the territory of Ukraine. In addition, foreign investments in Ukraine are not subject to nationalization. In order to simplify the procedure for attracting foreign investments and preventing the manifestation of signs of corruption during their state registration on May 31, 2016 the Law of Ukraine No. 1390-VIII “On amending certain legislative acts of Ukraine regarding the elimination of the obligation of state registration of foreign investments” was adopted.

47.In 2016, the investors have invested in the economy of Ukraine 4.4 billion. USD (against 3.8 billion in 2015) withdrew 0.9 billion dollars (against 0.9 billion in 2015).

48.According to the Doing Business-2017 favourable business ranking, Ukraine ranked 80th among 190 countries, according to the Doing Business-2016 rating, which was refined according to the methodology applied this year, Ukraine ranked 81st out of 189 countries.

49.National debt. According to the data of the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine, the volume of total national debt and state-backed debt as of 31 January 2017 was 1.931.02 billion UAH or 71.21 billion USD including, particularly, the State and State-guaranteed external debt — 1.241.33 billion UAH (64.28 per cent of the State and State guaranteed debt total amount) or 45.77 billion USD, the State and guaranteed by the State domestic debt — 689.69 billion UAH (35.72 per cent) or 25.43 billion USD. This figure is 5.47 billion dollars more than the indicator as of 31 January 2016 (compared to 2015 increased by 8.3 per cent).

50.During January 2017, the amount of the state and state-guaranteed debt of Ukraine increased in UAH equivalent to UAH 1.26 billion, while in the dollar equivalent the state and state-guaranteed debt increased by USD 0.23 billion.

51.Corruption: In 2016 according to the corruption perception index of the Transparency International, Ukraine occupied the 131st position, having gained 29 points of 100 possible which are two grades more than in 2015.

52.In 2015, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau and the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office were established. They concentrate on the investigation and prosecution of high-level corruption in the Government, Parliament and the courts.

53.The National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption was established in 2016 to coordinate Government policy of corruption prevention. It oversees the e-register of declarations of public officials. More than one million public officials submitted their asset and income declarations online, which are publicly accessible on a website. Failure to declare or submitting false declarations may result in dismissal and criminal investigations.

Brief Historical Review

54.Contemporary history of Ukraine — 2013–2017. On 21 November 2013 the refusal of the Government of the former President Yanukovych to sign the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement resulted in several thousand protest actions named Euromaidan. The forceful crackdown of the protesters on 30 November 2013 in Kyiv triggered the appearance of thousand hundreds of people on the streets with the clamour against the Government headed by Prime Minister Mykola Azarov. Almost three months thousand hundreds of protesters from all regions of Ukraine demanded to fulfil their requirements, nonetheless, the Government was not responding and applied tough methods to suppress mass demonstrations. The conflict intensified on 18–20 February 2014, when over 100 persons died, 1.5 thousand were injured, several hundred went missing. Despite the signing of the Crisis Management Agreement in Ukraine on February 21, 2014, between the President of Ukraine and the leaders of the democratic opposition with the mediation of foreign ministers from Poland, Germany and France, Viktor Yanukovych and a large number of high-level government officials secretly left the country, mainly to Russia. On 22 February 2014, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, as the only acting supreme state body at that time, adopted the Law of Ukraine “On the Self-removal of the President of Ukraine from the Exercise of Constitutional Powers and the Appointment of Extraordinary Elections of the President of Ukraine.” The duties of the President of Ukraine had been entrusted to the Chairman of The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov. On 20 February 2014, the Russian Federation began armed aggression against Ukraine, having occupied the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.

55.On 16 March 2014, in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and in the city of Sevastopol under the occupation of military units of the Russian Federation and in violation of Ukrainian and international law, an illegitimate referendum on the state-legal status of autonomy was held. Ukraine and the democratic states of the world have not recognized the results of the so-called “referendum”. According to international law and national legislation of Ukraine, the Crimean peninsula is an integral part of the sovereign territory of Ukraine, temporarily occupied by the Russian Federation.

56.On March 20, 2014, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the Declaration “On the Struggle for the Liberation of Ukraine”.

57.The UN General Assembly in the Resolution “Territorial integrity of Ukraine” adopted by on 27 March 2014 (A/RES/68/262) affirms its commitment to the sovereignty, political independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders. The resolution also underscores that the referendum held in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol on 16 March 2014, having no validity, cannot form the basis for any alteration of the status of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea or of the city of Sevastopol.

58.The next stage of Russian armed aggression was an attempt to destabilize the situation in the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine. Attempts by pro-Russian forces to seize power in Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk and Odesa regions failed. At the same time, illegal armed formations, created and funded by Russia, managed to capture some districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, including regional centers. Since 2014, Russia has been supplying regular troops, mercenaries, weapons, ammunition, and fuel to the occupied parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions through an uncontrolled section of the Ukrainian-Russian state border.

59.On 13 April 2014, the Acting President of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov announced the decision of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine to begin an anti-terrorist operation in the East of Ukraine.

60.The situation in the Donbass should be considered in the general context of the armed aggression of the Russian Federation, the first phase of which began in February 2014 with the occupation by the Russian Federation of Crimea and Sevastopol, the second — in April 2014, with the capture by the terrorist groups controlled by the Russian Federation of part of the territory of the Donbas, the third — in August 2014, with the invasion of the regular forces of the Russian Federation on the territory of Donbass.

61.On 25 May 2014, at an extraordinary election, Petro Poroshenko was elected as a President of Ukraine, on 7 June 2014, took an oath of office as Head of State.

62.The political part of the association agreement between Ukraine and the EU was signed on 21 March 2014, the economic part on 27 June 2014 respectively. On 16 September 2014, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and the European Parliament simultaneously ratified the agreement.

63.On 21 March 2014, the political part of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU was signed, on 27 June 2014, the economic part. On 16 September 2014, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and the European Parliament ratified the Agreement in a synchronous manner.

64.At the end of 2014, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine voted for Ukraine’s refusal of the status of neutrality and to obtain the criteria necessary for joining NATO.

65.On 27 January 2015, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the Resolution No. 129-VIII “On the Appeal of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to the United Nations, the European Parliament, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Parliamentary Assembly of NATO, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, the GUAM Parliamentary Assembly, the parliaments of the countries of the world regarding the recognition of the Russian Federation as an aggressor state”.

66.On 4 February 2015, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted Resolution No. 145-VIII “On the Statement of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine “On the recognition by Ukraine of the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court in respect of the commission of crimes against humanity and military crimes by senior officials of the Russian Federation and leaders of terrorist organizations of the DPR and LPR which led to the particularly grave consequences and the massacre of Ukrainian citizens”.

67.The Minsk Agreements (Protocol of 5 September 2014, the Memorandum of 19 September 2014, and the Complex of measures on implementation of the Minsk Agreements of 12 February 2015) became the basis for a peaceful settlement of the conflict in Donbass. The Russian Federation, as a party and signatory to the Minsk Agreements, is constantly ignoring its obligations.

68.On 17 March 2015, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the Resolution No. 254-VIII “On the recognition of individual regions, cities, towns, and villages of Donetsk and Luhansk regions as the temporarily occupied territories”.

69.On 21 April 2015, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the Resolution No. 337-VIII “On the Statement of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine “On the resistance to the armed aggression of the Russian Federation and overcoming its consequences”.

70.On 21 May 2015, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the Resolution No. 462-VIII “On the Statement of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on Derogation from Certain Obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms”.

71.The Resolution of the UN General Assembly «Situation of Human Rights in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol (Ukraine) (A/RES/71/205) of 19 December 2016 stated that violations and abuses of human rights continued to take place in Crimea and pointed to the sharp deterioration of the overall human rights situation on the occupied by the Russian Federation part of the territory of Ukraine — the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol. In addition, in mentioned resolution Russia for the first time is recognized as an occupying state in official documents of the United Nations.

72.On 16 January 2017, Ukraine has filed a case in the International Court of Justice to hold the Russian Federation accountable for the support of terrorism in eastern Ukraine and discrimination of ethnic Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars in the occupied Crimea. The case has been filed under the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

73.According to the UN as a result of Russia’s armed aggression against Ukraine, at least 10.090 people were killed, approximately 23.966 injured (April 2014–15 May 2017).

74.As of July 2017, the Russian Federation has occupied 7.2 per cent of the territory of Ukraine: the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (26.081 km²), Sevastopol city (864 km²), and separate districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions (16.799 km²). 409.7 km of the Ukrainian-Russian state border remain uncontrollable to the Government of Ukraine.

75.On 6 July 2017, the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, signed the Law of Ukraine “On amending certain legislative acts of Ukraine regarding the foreign political course of Ukraine” (the law was adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on June 8, 2017). Integration into the Euro-Atlantic security space in order to become a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is one of the priorities of Ukraine’s national interests.

76.On 11 July 2017, the EU Council adopted a decision to ratify the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU. On 1 September 2017, the Agreement will enter into force in full.