Pursuant to the requirements of the European Commission on Ukraine’s accession to the European Union, the members of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Committee on Human Rights, Deoccupation and Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine, National Minorities and Interethnic Relations registered the Draft Law of Ukraine “On National Minorities (Communities) of Ukraine” (Reg. No. 8224).

The purpose of the Draft Law, according to the Explanatory Note, “is to improve the legislative regulation of the rights and freedoms of people belonging to national minorities (communities) and the legal framework of state policy in the field of protection and ensuring the rights of national minorities (communities) of Ukraine, in particular, the right to self-identification, use of languages of national minorities (communities), to education, to participate in political, economic, social and cultural life, etc.

In addition, for the first time, the powers of the central executive body, which ensures the implementation of state policy in the field of protection of rights and freedoms of persons belonging to national minorities (communities) are enshrined at the legislative level.”

The document also states that “Ukraine is a state party to the Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. On the way of integration into the European community, Ukraine has pledged to ensure European standards of protection of the rights of national communities, in particular, by creating appropriate mechanisms for their implementation.”

On the eve of the registration of the draft law, the Committee held a public discussion with the participation of the First Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Oleksandr Korniienko, representatives of national minorities in Ukraine and experts of the Council of Europe. During the active dialogue the participants discussed the main innovations and controversial provisions of the draft law.

In particular, the First Vice-Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament Oleksandr Korniienko emphasized during the consultations that the EU candidacy is a common heritage and shared responsibility of all Ukrainians.

 “Therefore, the Ukrainian Parliament continues to faithfully implement the European integration track. And even despite the war and short deadlines, we adhere to the principles of democracy, discuss controversial issues with civil society and partners. We must do everything to ensure that the necessary legislation is adopted as much as possible in the form that would satisfy all stakeholders,” Oleksandr Korniienko emphasized.

In turn, the First Deputy Chairman of the Committee Maksym Tkachenko noted that the subject of the draft law is sensitive, as it is about ensuring the development of linguistic, cultural, ethnic and religious identity of our citizens in Ukraine.

“Creating appropriate conditions for the realization and protection of the rights of all persons belonging to national minorities is the duty of every democratic state. It is not for nothing that the requirement to reform the legislation on national minorities is one of the conditions that the European Union sets for Ukraine on the way to full membership,” said the First Deputy Chairman of the Committee during the discussion of the document.

The draft law was finalized based on the conclusion of the Council of Europe and in close cooperation with its experts. Representatives of the Commissioner of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and the Cabinet of Ministers, in particular the Office of the Vice Prime Minister of European and Euro-Atlantic Integration also took part in the complex work on the draft legislative act. 
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