The Human Truth Foundation

Human Rights and Freedom in Ukraine

https://www.humantruth.info/ukraine_human_rights_and_freedom.html

By Vexen Crabtree 2019

#human_rights #international_law #politics #russia #ukraine #ukraine_human_rights

Ukraine
[Country Profile Page]
StatusIndependent State
Social and Moral Index67th best
LocationEurope
Population44.2m1
Life Expectancy71.62yrs (2017)2

Ukraine does relatively well in ensuring human rights and freedom, compared to many other countries. Ukraine comes in the best 20 for speed of uptake of HR treaties3. It does better than average in terms of its nominal commitment to Human Rights4, the rate of gender bias (from 7 indicators)5 (but bad for Europe), commentary in Human Rights Watch reports6 (but bad for Europe), freethought7, opposing gender inequality8 (but high for Europe) and in LGBT equality9 (but bad for Europe). But, there's bad news too. Ukraine does worse than average in its success in fighting anti-semitic prejudice10, supporting personal, civil & economic freedoms11 (one of the highest in Europe) and in supporting press freedom12 (one of the highest in Europe).


1. Ukraine's Human Rights, Equality & Tolerance

#equality #gender_equality #human_rights #morals #politics #prejudice #tolerance

Compared to Europe (2020)13
Pos.Lower is better
Avg Rank13
1Sweden9.0
2Norway14.5
3Denmark14.5
...
31Greece58.1
32Croatia58.1
33Albania59.3
34Ukraine59.5
35Serbia59.9
36Bosnia & Herzegovina63.2
37Georgia64.2
38Armenia71.4
39Montenegro71.8
Europe Avg51.4
q=49.
Human Rights, Equality & Tolerance (2020)13
Pos.Lower is better
Avg Rank13
1Sweden9.0
2Norway14.5
3Denmark14.5
...
49Greece58.1
50Croatia58.1
51Albania59.3
52Ukraine59.5
53Panama59.7
54Serbia59.9
55Mongolia60.3
56Guatemala62.8
World Avg87.9
q=199.

The best countries in the world at ensuring human rights, fostering equality and promoting tolerance, are Sweden, Norway and Denmark14. These countries are displaying the best traits that humanity has to offer. The worst countries are The Solomon Islands, Somalia and Tuvalu14.

The data sets used to calculate points for each country are statistics on commentary in Human Rights Watch reports, its nominal commitment to Human Rights, speed of uptake of HR treaties, supporting personal, civil & economic freedoms, supporting press freedom, eliminating modern slavery, opposing gender inequality, the rate of gender bias (from 7 indicators), the year from which women could participate in democracy, its success in fighting anti-semitic prejudice, LGBT equality and freethought. The regions with the best average results per country are Scandinavia, Baltic States and Europe14, whereas the worst are Melanesia, Micronesia and Australasia14.

For more, see:

Amnesty International's 2023-23 summary on human rights in Ukraine stated:

Russia‚€ôs full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February was a violation of the UN Charter and an act of aggression, a crime under international law. Russian forces conducted indiscriminate attacks resulting in thousands of civilian casualties, amid mounting evidence of other crimes including torture, sexual violence and unlawful killings. Attacks on civilian infrastructure also led to violations of the rights to housing, health and education. A new law on the media granted excessive powers for the Ukrainian state media regulator. Promised new legislation on civil partnerships appeared to include same-sex relationships. The war exacerbated existing inequalities for women, amid a reported increase in gender-based violence.

"The State of the World's Human Rights 2022/23" by Amnesty International (2023)15

The armed conflict in eastern Ukraine between the Ukrainian government and separatist armed groups supported by Russia entered its fourth year. Throughout 2017, all sides... endangered civilians and civilian infrastructure as they continued hostilities. [...] In late January and early February, all sides to the conflict engaged in massive shelling of populated areas. [...] Total impunity for conflict-related torture and arbitrary, unacknowledged detention persisted on both sides. [...]

In the self-proclaimed Donetsk People´s Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People´s Republic (LPR) Russia-backed de facto authorities continued to carry out arbitrary detentions and enforced disappearances, holding civilians for weeks without any contact with lawyers, families, or the outside world. Local security services operated without checks and balances. The overall absence of the rule of law in separatist-controlled areas leaves detainees extremely vulnerable to abuse.

"World Report 2018" by Human Rights Watch (2018)16

In Crimea, which has been invaded and occupied by Russia, persecution of (peaceful) pro-Ukraine activists continues16 as well as the persistence of a "human rights crisis"16.

2. Human Rights & Tolerance

2.1. Human Rights Watch Comments

#human_rights

Human Rights Watch Comments
Higher is better6
Pos.2017
Score6
1=UK9
1=France9
1=Germany9
...
37Costa Rica1
38=Norway1
38=Panama1
40Ukraine0
41=Nepal0
41=S. Korea0
43Guatemala-1
44=Armenia-1
Europe Avg3.5
World Avg-1.9
q=123.
Ukraine comes 40th in the world in terms of commentary in Human Rights Watch reports.

Human Rights Watch comments concentrate mostly on negative issues, however, they also make positive comments for those countries that engage in human rights defence around the world, or who make improvements at home. By adding up positive and negative comments (including double-points for negatives that involve large scales and crimes against humanity), the Social and Moral Index turns HRW commentary into quantified values. Some countries may be unfairly penalized because HRW have not examined them, and, some countries "get away" with abuses if they manage to hide it, or if it goes unnoticed - a negative point has been given for those countries in which HRW specifically state that access to investigators has been barred. The points were limited to a minimum of -10 because there are some points at which things are so bad, with abuses affecting so many, it is difficult to be more specific about the depths of the issues.

2.2. Nominal Commitment to HR

#human_rights

Nominal Commitment to HR
Higher is better4
Pos.2009
Treaties4
1Argentina24
2=Chile23
2=Costa Rica23
...
32Albania20
33=Cyprus20
33=Namibia20
33=Ukraine20
33=Macedonia20
33=Slovakia20
33=Honduras20
33=S. Africa20
Europe Avg19.5
World Avg15.1
q=194.
Ukraine ranks 29th in the world in terms of its nominal commitment to Human Rights.

There are many international agreements on human rights, and, many mechanisms by which countries can be brought to account for their actions. Together, these have been the biggest historical movement in the fight against oppression and inhumanity. Or, putting it another way: these are rejected mostly by those who wish to oppress inhumanely. None of them are perfect and many people object to various components and wordings, but, no-one has come up with, and enforced, better methods of controlling the occasional desires that states and peoples have of causing angst for other states and peoples in a violent, unjust or inhumane way. Points are awarded for the number of human rights agreements ratified by the country, plus the acceptance of the petition mechanisms for disputes. The maximum possible score in 2009 was 24.

2.3. HR Treaties Lag

#human_rights #international_law #micronesia #politics #small_islands

HR Treaties Lag
Lower is better3
Pos.2019
Avg Yrs/Treaty3
1Ecuador2.15
2Uruguay2.25
3Tunisia3.65
...
14Spain4.60
15Peru4.64
16Sweden4.88
17Ukraine4.94
18Mali4.97
19Norway5.05
20Denmark5.06
21S. Sudan5.41
Europe Avg9.09
World Avg10.02
q=195.
Ukraine is positioned 17th-best in the world when it comes to speed of uptake of HR treaties.

Human Rights (HR) Treaties Lag is a count of how long it took each country to sign each of 11 key HR treaties. From the date of the first signatory of each treaty, all other countries have one point added to their score for each day they delayed in signing. Results are presented as average time in years to sign each one. The lower a country's score, the more enthusiastically it has taken on international Human Rights Treaties - which are, of course, minimal standards of good governance. The slowest are the countries of Micronesia, Melanesia, Australasia and Polynesia all lagged by over 12 years per treaty. The best regions are The Americas, Scandinavia and the Mediterranean.

For more, see:

2.4. Personal, Civil & Economic Freedom

#freedom #politics

Personal, Civil & Economic Freedom
Lower is better11
Pos.2014
Rank11
1Hong Kong1
2Switzerland2
3New Zealand3
...
108Lebanon108
109Laos109
110Ivory Coast110
111=Ukraine111
111=Senegal111
111=Colombia111
111=Kuwait111
115Malaysia115
Europe Avg33.9
World Avg79.7
q=159.
(one of the highest in Europe)Ukraine is positioned 111st in the world in terms of supporting personal, civil & economic freedoms.

The Human Freedom Index published by the Fraser Institute is...

... a broad measure of human freedom, understood as the absence of coercive constraint. It uses 79 distinct indicators of personal and economic freedom in the following areas: Rule of Law, Security and Safety, Movement, Religion, Association, Assembly, and Civil Society, Expression, Relationships, Size of Government, Legal System and Property Rights, Access to Sound Money, Freedom to Trade Internationally, Regulation of Credit, Labor, and Business. [...]

The highest levels of freedom are in Western Europe, Northern Europe, and North America (Canada and the United States. The lowest levels are in the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa. [...]

Countries in the top quartile of freedom enjoy a significant higher per capita income ($37,147) [compared with] the least-free quartile [at] $8,700). The HFI finds a strong correlation between human freedom and democracy.

"The Human Freedom Index" by The Fraser Institute (2016)17

2.5. Press Freedom

#democracy #freedom #Freedom_of_Speech #Good_Governance #mass_media #politics #UK

Press Freedom
Lower is better12
Pos.201312
1Finland638
2Netherlands648
3Norway652
...
122Tajikistan3571
123S. Sudan3620
124Algeria3654
125Ukraine3679
126Honduras3692
127Afghanistan3736
128Colombia3748
129Angola3780
Europe Avg2044
World Avg3249
q=178.
(one of the highest in Europe)Regarding supporting press freedom, Ukraine comes 125th in the world.

The freedom to investigate, publish information, and have access to others' opinion is a fundamental part of today's information-driven world, and is linked with Freedom of Speech and Good Governance. Scores on the Press Freedom Index are calculated according to indicators including pluralism - the degree to which opinions are represented in the media, media independence of authorities, self-censorship, legislation, transparency and the infrastructure that supports news and information, and, the level of violence against journalists which includes lengths of imprisonments. The index "does not take direct account of the kind of political system but it is clear that democracies provide better protection for the freedom to produce and circulate accurate news and information than countries where human rights are flouted". The rankings are used as one of the datasets of the Social and Moral Development Index18

It must be noted that press freedom is not an indicator of press quality and the press itself can be abusive; the UK suffers in particular from a popular brand of nasty reporting that infuses several of its newspapers who are particularly prone to running destructive and often untrue campaigns against victims. The Press Freedom Index notes that "the index should in no way be taken as an indicator of the quality of the media in the countries concerned".

The government took several steps to restrict freedom of expression and media freedom, justifying them by the need to counter Russia´s military aggression in eastern Ukraine and anti-Ukraine propaganda.

"World Report 2018" by Human Rights Watch (2018)16

2.6. Slavery

#burundi #eritrea #france #human_rights #indonesia #slavery

Slavery
Lower is better
19
Pos.2018
% Victims19
1Japan0.03
2=Canada0.05
2=Taiwan0.05
...
116India0.61
117Tanzania0.62
118=Equatorial Guinea0.64
118=Ukraine0.64
120Turkey0.65
121=Niger0.67
121=Zimbabwe0.67
123Togo0.68
Europe Avg0.38
World Avg0.65
q=167.
Ukraine is positioned 118th in the world regarding eliminating modern slavery.

The taking of slaves has been an unwholesome feature of Human cultures since prehistory20. Private households and national endeavours have frequently been augmented with the use of slaves. The Egyptian and Roman empires both thrived on them for both purposes. Aside from labourers they are often abused sexually by their owners and their owners' friends21. The era of colonialism and the beginnings of globalisation changed nothing: the imprisonment and forced movements of labour continued to destroy many lives except that new justifications were invented based on Christian doctrine and the effort to convert non-Christians. By 1786 over 12 million slaves had been extracted from Africa and sent to colonial labour camps, with a truly atrocious condition of life22. But they were not the only ones to blame; in Africa internal nations such as the Asantes sold and bought tens of thousands of slaves23.

The abolition of the slave trade was a long and slow process. Until a relatively modern time, even philosophers, religious leaders and those concerned with ethics justified, or ignored, the problem of slavery24. The first abolitionists were always the slaves themselves. Their protests and rebellions caused the industry to become too expensive to continue. After that, it was the economic costs of maintain slave colonies that led the British to reject and then oppose the slave trade globally. Finally, the enlightenment-era thinkers of France encouraged moral and ethical thinking including the declaration of the inherent value of human life and human dignity25. A long-overdue wave of compassionate and conscientious movements swept across the West, eliminating public support for slavery, until the industries and churches that supported it had no choice but to back down.

'Modern slavery' includes forced labour (often of the under-age), debt bondage (especially generational), sexual slavery, chattel slavery and other forms of abuse, some of which can be surprisingly difficult to detect, but often target those fleeing from warzones and the vulnerable.26. Some industries (diamond, clothing, coal) from some countries (Burundi27, Eritrea27, Indonesia28) are a particular concern. The Walk Free Foundation, say that in 2016, 40.3 million people were living in modern slavery29.

For more, see:

3. Gender Equality

Ukraine is on the way towards ending gender inequality but women are still in an unfavourable position much of the time.

See:

3.1. Gender Inequality

#gender #gender_equality #human_rights #misogyny #women

Gender Inequality
Lower is better
8
Pos.20158
1Switzerland0.04
2Denmark0.04
3Netherlands0.04
...
53Mongolia0.28
54Oman0.28
55Uruguay0.28
56Ukraine0.28
57Uzbekistan0.29
58Tunisia0.29
59Malaysia0.29
60Barbados0.29
Europe Avg0.15
World Avg0.36
q=159.
Ukraine ranks 56th in the world in terms of opposing gender inequality.

The UN Human Development Reports include statistics on gender equality which take into account things like maternal mortality, access to political power (seats in parliament) and differences between male and female education rates. Gender inequality is not a necessary part of early human development. Although a separation of roles is almost universal due to different strengths between the genders, this does not have to mean that women are subdued, and, such patriarchalism is not universal in ancient history. Those cultures and peoples who shed, or never developed, the idea that mankind ought to dominate womankind, are better cultures and peoples than those who, even today, cling violently to those mores.

For more, see:

3.2. Gender Biases

#gender #gender_equality #prejudice #women

Gender Biases
Lower is better
5
Pos.2022
%5
1Sweden31.830
2New Zealand34.431
3Australia37.031
...
27Hong Kong80.831
28Poland81.430
29Cyprus81.831
30Ukraine86.131
31Brazil86.331
32Romania86.631
33Trinidad & Tobago87.430
34Peru89.131
Europe Avg69.08
World Avg83.93
q=88.
With regard to the rate of gender bias (from 7 indicators), Ukraine ranks 30th in the world.

The Gender Social Norms Index (GSNI) looks at gender biases across seven criteria; the % given here is for the total people who are biased across any of those criteria. By subtracting the value from 100%, you can see that those who do well on this index, you are seeing a count of those who do not appear to be biased against women in any of the criteria, and so, doing well on this index is a very positive sign for any country.

The data was included in UN (2022) with full results in Annex table AS6.7.1; their data stems for ranges between 2005 and 2022, depending on the country in question.

3.3. Year Women Can Vote

#christianity #gender_equality #human_rights #politics #women

Year Women Can Vote
Lower is better
Pos.0
Year
1New Zealand1893
2Australia1902
3Finland1906
...
13=Belarus1919
13=Germany1919
13=Netherlands1919
13=Ukraine1919
13=Luxembourg1919
13=Czechia1919
13=Poland1919
20Canada1920
Europe Avg1895
World Avg1930
q=189.
Ukraine ranks 11st-best in the world regarding the year from which women could participate in democracy.

Women now have equal rights in the vast majority of countries across the world. Although academic literature oftens talks of when a country "grants women the right to vote", this enforces a backwards way of thinking. Women always had the right to vote, however, they were frequently denied that right. The opposition to women's ability to vote in equality with man was most consistently and powerfully opposed by the Catholic Church, other Christian organisations, Islamic authorities and some other religious and secular traditionalists.

For more, see:

4. Prejudice

4.1. Anti-Semite Opinions

#antisemitism #christianity #germany #indonesia #israel #jordan #judaism #laos #morocco #netherlands #pakistan #philippines #religion #religious_violence #saudi_arabia #spain #sweden #turkey #UK #vietnam

Anti-Semite Opinions
Lower is better
10
Pos.2014
%10
1Laos0
2Philippines3
3Sweden4
...
64=France37
64=Chile37
64=Azerbaijan37
67Ukraine38
68=S. Africa38
68=Belarus38
68=Peru38
71Colombia41
Europe Avg29.9
World Avg36.8
q=101.
Ukraine is positioned 68th in the world regarding its success in fighting anti-semitic prejudice.

Anti-Semitism is the world given to irrational racism against Jews. It is not the same as anti-Judaism (involving arguments against the religion) nor the same as anti-Zionism (arguments against Israel). In history, influential Christian theologians concocted the arguments against Jews that led, very early on, to widespread Christian action against Jews32,33,34,35. As Christianity rose to power in the West and presided over the Dark Ages, there were widespread violent outbursts against Jews of the most persistent and horrible kind. The Crusades were frequently aimed at them and the feared Spanish Inquisition paid Jews particular attention. The horror of the holocaust instigated by German Nazis in the 1940s was followed (finally) by the era of European human rights and a movement against racism in general.

The places that are the least anti-Semitical are a few countries of south-east Asia (Laos, the Philippines and Vietnam) and some of the secular liberal democracies of Europe (Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK). The worst countries for antisemitism are Islamic states of the Middle East36, which are undergoing their own Dark Age. Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco, Indonesia, Pakistan and Turkey see the most oppressive and violent actions towards Jews37,38. Jews in Muslim countries face a host of restrictions and "ceaseless humiliation and regular pogroms"39. In 2004 the European Union Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia reported on violent anti-Jew crimes in the EU and found that that largest group of perpetrators were young Muslim males40.

For more, see:

4.2. LGBT Equality

#equality #homosexuality #human_rights #ICCPR #intolerance #sexuality #tolerance

Ukraine has taken several significant steps to improve the protection and inclusion of the country´s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. [...] Law enforcement ensured the safety of participants in Marches for Equality in June and July 2017 in Kyiv and Odesa, but everyday homophobia and transphobia remains widespread.

In May 2017, around 30 young men assaulted several LGBT activists at a small rally in Kharkiv, burned their rainbow flag, and injured one activist and two police officers. Four of the attackers were detained.

"World Report 2018" by Human Rights Watch (2018)16

LGBT Equality
Higher is better
9
Pos.2017
Score9
1Netherlands103
2Belgium90
3Sweden86
...
65=Lithuania30
66Taiwan25
67=Chile25
67=Ukraine25
67=Mongolia25
67=Liechtenstein25
67=Macedonia25
67=Cape Verde25
Europe Avg46.9
World Avg12.6
q=196.
Ukraine comes 66th in the world regarding LGBT equality.

Discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) folk is rife across the world. Legal restrictions co-exist alongside social stigmatisation and physical violence41. LGBT tolerance and equal rights have been fought for country-by-country across the world, often against tightly entrenched cultural and religious opposition. Adult consensual sexual activity is a Human Right, protected by privacy laws42. Despite this, homosexual activity is outlawed in around 80 countries41. The Social & Moral LGBT Equality Index was created to compare countries and regions, granting points to each country for a variety of factors including how long gay sex has been criminalized and the extent of LGBT legal rights. Graded negative points are given for criminality of homosexuality, unequal ages of consent, legal punishments and for not signing international accords on LGBT tolerance. The signs in many developed countries are positive, and things are gradually improving. Europe is by far the least prejudiced region (Scandinavia in particular being exemplary). The Middle East and then Africa are the least morally developed, where cultural bias goes hand-in-hand with state intolerance, all too often including physical violence.

For more, see:

4.3. Freedom of Thought

#europe #freedom_of_belief #freethought #human_rights #netherlands #religion #religious_tolerance #secularism #the_enlightenment

Freedom of Thought
Lower is better
7
Pos.20217
1=Belgium1.0
1=Netherlands1.0
1=Taiwan1.0
...
58Costa Rica2.5
59=Bahamas2.5
59=Liechtenstein2.5
59=Ukraine2.5
62Czechia2.7
63=Honduras2.7
63=Austria2.7
65Kyrgyzstan2.8
Europe Avg2.6
World Avg3.0
q=196.
With regard to freethought, Ukraine is 44th in the world.

Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Belief are upheld in Article 18 the United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights43. It affirms that it is a basic human right that all people are free to change their beliefs and religion as they wish44. No countries voted against this (although eight abstained). This right was first recognized clearly in the policies of religious toleration of the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe in the post-enlightenment era45 of the 19th century. In democratic countries, freedom of belief and religion is now taken for granted46. In 2016 a study found that over 180 countries in the world had come to guarantee freedom of religion and belief47. The best countries at doing so are Taiwan, Belgium and The Netherlands7,48 and the worst: Afghanistan, N. Korea, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia7,49.

Long-term studies have shown that religious violence and persecution both decrease in cultures where religious freedom is guaranteed50. Despite this, there still are many who are strongly against freedom of belief44, including entire cultures and many individual communities of religious believers. Their alternative is that you are not free to believe what you want and they often state that you cannot change religion without being punished (often including the death penalty): this is bemoaned as one of the most dangerous elements of religion51 and "the denial of religious freedoms is inevitably intertwined with the denial of other freedoms"52 and the solution is, everywhere, to allow religious freedom and the freedom of belief.

For more, see: