The First Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Oleksandr Korniienko met today with the delegation of the European Network of Equality Institutions (EQUINET).

He welcomed the delegation of European ombudsmen to the Ukrainian Parliament and told his European colleagues about the situation in Ukraine, in particular, about the observance of human rights and freedoms in the context of the war, which has significantly affected the provision of equality.

The First Vice-Speaker stressed that russia continues to demonstrate its readiness for a prolonged war of attrition, using horrific methods to destroy Ukraine and Ukrainians.

“In retaliation for its military losses on the ground, russia continues to terrorise the civilian population of Ukraine, attacking critical infrastructure and residential areas with missiles, MLRS, guided aerial bombs and attack drones, causing significant losses and destruction. russian occupiers are deliberately attacking Ukrainian seaports,” said Oleksandr Korniienko.

In particular, he stressed, russia completely ignores and tramples on the norms of international law and the rules of warfare, especially in relation to captured and deported citizens.

“Among the forcibly deported are thousands of children from Ukrainian families, which is a sign of genocide. And this is a particularly painful issue for us. So far, only 386 of them have returned to Ukraine,” said the First Vice Speaker. He also said that Dmytro Lubinets, the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, together with the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi and the Head of the Presidential Office Andrii Yermak, opened a Child Protection Centre where relatives of illegally taken children can address and outline a number of problems.

“We have to bring everyone – military, adults and young Ukrainians – back home. And we hope for the world’s assistance in this matter,” Oleksandr Korniienko called.

In addition, the First Vice-Speaker spoke about the work of the Parliament on issues related to equality and respect for rights and freedoms, political and religious views, gender rights, and the rights of national and sexual minorities. He said that the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has already adopted a number of bills and amended legislation to increase liability for discrimination or harassment of individuals and groups on various grounds: The Law on Media, the Law on National Minorities, amendments to legislation on advertising and child protection, etc. 

“This is part of Ukraine’s commitments to become an EU candidate. And we will do our best. Only then can we develop integration and become a full member of the EU in the future,” said Oleksandr Korniienko.

The parties also touched upon the topic of Ukraine’s post-war recovery, in particular, the rehabilitation and adaptation of our military who sustained injuries, contusions and maims as a result of the war. Oleksandr Korniienko noted that the post-war experience of Croatia and the development of a mobility strategy in society will be important to help our soldiers survive the terrible period.

The First Vice Speaker also said that the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights has applied to join EQUINET.

“We welcome further strengthening of cooperation between equality institutions of European countries (and Ukraine, of course, has long been part of the European family of nations). We are ready to contribute in every possible way to further expanding our cooperation with EQUINET,” assured Oleksandr Korniienko.

The meeting was also attended by the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights Dmytro Lubinets, the Chairman of the Committee on Human Rights, De-occupation and Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine, National Minorities and International Relations Andrii Zadorozhnyi, the First Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Human Rights Akhtem Chiihoz, and the Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Humanitarian and Information Policy Yevheniia Kravchuk.

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