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TITLE:  UKRAINE HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1993                            
DATE:  JANUARY 31, 1994


Ukraine was governed in 1993 by the 1978 Constitution of the 
Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, modified by the 
introduction of a Presidency and a multiparty system.  The 
President, elected for a 5-year term, nominates the Prime 
Minister and members of the Cabinet, who are subject to 
confirmation by the Parliament.  Day-to-day government 
operations are the responsibility of the Prime Minister and the 
Cabinet.  The 450-member parliament, called the Supreme Rada 
(Council), was elected in 1990, before Ukraine's 1991 
declaration of independence and while the country was still 
dominated by the Communist Party.  It is responsible for 
initiating legislation, ratifying international treaties and 
agreements, and approving the state budget.  

A parliamentary commission, formed in 1992 to prepare a new 
constitution, had not completed its work by year's end.  In 
general, 1993 was a year of increasing governmental and 
executive-legislative deadlock.  As an extension of his de 
facto control over economic and administrative reforms, 
President Leonid Kravchuk continued to use his authority to 
appoint presidential representatives with broad powers to each 
oblast (provincial) government; the Rada curtailed some of 
their powers during 1993.  The ability of the legislative and 
judicial branches to function independently from the executive 
branch remained limited.  In an effort to break the deadlock, 
the Rada called for early parliamentary elections in March 1994 
and presidential elections in June 1994.  

The National Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), the Ministry of 
Internal Affairs (MVD), and the Ministry of Defense all have 
equal status and report directly to the President through the 
Council of Ministers.  The chairmen of these institutions sit 
on the Council of Ministers and simultaneously chair executive 
committees of the Council responsible for each of their 
ministries.  The senior leadership of each of these services 
and officials in related ministries comprise the membership of 
these executive committees.  The Rada confirms the appointment 
of each chairman after hearings and has established committees 
to advise and consult with the executive committees on a 
regular basis.  

The armed forces have largely remained outside politics.  The 
SBU participates in parliamentary debate in a technical 
advisory capacity.  Although the SBU has affected the political 
process with its corruption investigations against leading 
politicians, it has not engaged in purely partisan political 
activity.  Human rights organizations have not reported any 
violations of human rights by the SBU.  

In November 1992, the Rada granted extraordinary powers to the 
Prime Minister for reform and regulation of the economy.  The 
Prime Minister was empowered to issue economic decrees with the 
force of law, unless vetoed by the Rada within 10 days.  The 
Government used this authority to introduce small-scale 
privatization, some financial stabilization, and limited land 
reform.  Because of the opposition of conservative factions to 
broader reforms, in May 1993 the Rada refused to extend the 
extraordinary powers.  The economy did poorly in 1993:  
production in state-owned industries declined rapidly while 
state subsidies increased, the budget deficit jumped, the 
currency remained unstabilized, and the economy fell into 

The human rights picture remains mixed.  While there are few 
significant violations, the populace as a whole lacks an 
understanding of its human rights.  The 1991 law on the rights 
of ethnic minorities (enhanced by the 1992 law on national 
minorities) guarantees persons belonging to ethnic minorities 
the right to schools and cultural facilities and the use of 
their languages in business and official correspondence.  While 
some ethnic tension persists, particularly between Ukrainians 
and Russians in Crimea, Ukraine has been remarkably free of 
interethnic antagonism and conflict.  There is residual 
anti-Semitism.  Other human rights problems include continuing 
restrictions on freedom of the press and unreformed Soviet-era 
prison and legal systems.  


Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
           Freedom from:

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

Several political killings (of officers of the Black Sea fleet 
and a political candidate) were alleged to have occurred in 
Crimea in late 1993.  Some accused the Government of 
participating in these killings and of refusing to conduct 
thorough and timely investigations.  At year's end, there was 
no conclusive evidence that the killings were politically 
motivated or that they were perpetrated by government agencies. 

     b.  Disappearance

There were no reported incidents of abductions or 

     c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
         Treatment or Punishment

The 1978 Constitution prohibits torture.  However, police 
beatings occasionally occur, and there is no mechanism for 
registering complaints about mistreatment or for obtaining 
redress.  Visitors to Ukrainian prisons describe conditions as 
severely substandard.  Prisons are overcrowded, with the number 
of prisoners sometimes four times capacity.  Because of poor 
hygenic conditions and inadequate diet, full-scale riots have 
erupted.  Prison authorities and the MVD have done little to 
reform prison conditions and have also refused to discuss the 
subject with foreign governments, other Ukrainian government 
bodies, human rights groups, or Ukrainian civic organizations.  

The Ukrainian psychiatric community has begun to adopt more 
humane methods of treatment.  Some in the Government support 
the adoption of less coercive and degrading modes of 
treatment.  Despite the resource constraints imposed by the 
economic crisis, efforts to improve medical training, hospital 
conditions, patients' rights, and legal norms are proceeding.  

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

There were no reported cases in 1993 of arbitrary arrest or 
detention of persons.  Ukraine has only slightly amended its 
Soviet-era law on detentions.  A person suspected of a crime 
may be detained for 3 days without warrant.  A prosecutor must 
issue an arrest order permitting detention beyond 3 days.  The 
maximum period of detention after charges have been filed could 
be as much as 1 1/2 years.  The law permits citizens to appeal 
the legality of an arrest either to the court or to the 
prosecutor.  As citizens gain a better understanding of their 
rights under a 1992 law, they are increasingly filing appeals 
with the courts.  The authorities have dismissed individual 
officials for not adhering to legal guidelines.  There is no 
bail system, although once charges are filed the court may 
release the defendant on his own recognizance.

A judge must initiate a trial within 3 weeks from the time 
charges are filed, a limit that not always met in practice.  In 
the overloaded court system, months may pass before a defendant 
is brought to court.  The law provides for a detainee's access 
to a defense attorney from the moment of detention or the 
filing of charges, whichever comes first.  To protect the 
defendant, each investigative file must contain a document 
signed by the defendant and his counsel attesting that the 
defendant's rights were explained to him in the presence of an 
attorney.  An appeals court may dismiss a conviction or order a 
new trial if this document is missing.

As defendants became aware of their rights, they increasingly 
took advantage of the changes in criminal procedure.  However, 
many still do not know about, and therefore cannot avail 
themselves of, these procedures.  Defense attorneys' fees also 
have become prohibitively expensive.

There is no exile.  

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

The Ukrainian court system follows the Soviet model.  Aside 
from a December 1991 law modifying the Ukrainian system of 
prosecution and a June 1992 law creating the Constitutional 
Court, there has not been major structural reform.  All the 
candidates selected by the Government for the Constitutional 
Court refused appointments, and the Court has not been able to 
begin work.  

The courts are undifferentiated as to function.  In the same 
day, judges may hear criminal, civil, and juvenile cases.  The 
courts are organized on three levels:  rayon courts (regional, 
also known as people's courts); oblast (provincial) courts; and 
the Supreme Court.  All may act as the court of first instance 
depending on the severity of the crime.  A case heard in the 
first instance by the Supreme Court, therefore, may not be 
appealed or reviewed.  There are no clear rules to determine 
which court first hears a case.  As a rule, military tribunals 
handle cases involving military personnel only.

Prosecutors, like the courts, are organized into offices at the 
rayon, oblast, and republic levels.  They are ultimately 
responsible to the Prosecutor General appointed by the Rada.  
Prosecutors and defense attorneys have equal status before the 
courts.  Prosecutors still are very influential in court 
proceedings.  The prosecutor directs the Security Service in an 
investigation or uses the investigative resources of the 
prosecutor's office.

While the defendant is presumed innocent and tried before a 
panel of judges, conviction rates have not changed from the 
Soviet era.  Nearly 99 percent of cases end in convictions.  
However, the structure of the system is such that judges 
frequently send back for additional investigation those cases 
unlikely to end in convictions.  These cases are then sometimes 
dropped or closed, occasionally without informing the court or 
the defendant.  Consequently, convictions rates are a somewhat 
misleading statistic.  

Oblast and Supreme Court judges may not be members of political 
parties and must have at least 5 years of legal experience.  
The Rada selects judges on the basis of recommendations from 
the Ministry of Justice which are based in part on examination 
results.  The chief prosecutor and deputy chief prosecutor are 
nominated by the President and confirmed by Parliament.  State 
and local prosecutors are appointed by the chief prosecutor.  
Many current judges and prosecutors were appointed in Soviet 
times when political influence pervaded the judicial system.  
It is unclear how free the judiciary now is from influence and 
intimidation by the executive branch of government.  At the 
oblast level especially, judges, prosecutors, and other court 
officials appear to remain closely attuned to local government 

     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 

The SBU may conduct intrusive surveillance and searches without 
a warrant on national security grounds.  Human rights observers 
report receiving no complaints of invasion of privacy by the 
SBU.  According to the SBU charter, persons subject to 
surveillance must be informed after a month's time.  The 
Prosecutor General's office has oversight responsibility over 
the SBU and is utilizing its authority to monitor its 
activities and to curb excesses by security officials.  In the 
past, excesses have included overzealous surveillance and 
searches, and unwarranted detentions.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:  

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

A 1991 Ukrainian law purports to protect freedom of speech and 
press.  However, there are significant impediments to the 
exercise of these freedoms, and the 1991 law only covers 
printed media.  Criticism of the Government is tolerated, but 
lack of independent funding and of public support for 
independent media make it difficult for opposition leaders to 
disseminate their views widely.  Most newspapers continue to 
receive state subsidies, a form of indirect control over their 
activities.  While no direct government censorship mechanism 
exists, official newspapers in the past have been reluctant to 
publish antigovernment editorials or information that could 
offend the Government because of the ingrained habit of 
following the party line formed during Soviet times.  

In December opposition parties and candidates asserted that the 
Government reduced media availability and access for candidates 
for public office.  One paper critical of the Government was 
closed for nonpayment of debt to the state monopoly enterprise 
selling newsprint.  The editor of the most popular newspaper in 
Ukraine, also critical of the Government (and the opposition), 
was replaced with a more progovernment editor.  The parent 
company asserts that the editor was replaced because the 
newspaper was 12 billion karbovontni in debt to the State.  
Opposition politicians claim that the parent company, subject 
to pressure from the Government,  actually was practicing 
self-censorship.  Official publications, heavily subsidized 
despite the economic crisis, continue to publish without 

A recent Ukrainian decree placed newsprint in the category of a 
strategic material, giving the Government control over the 
distribution of all paper.  The President, in announcing the 
decree, stated that this would enable the Government to ensure 
equal distribution of paper to all government and independent 
newspapers in a time of shortage.  Generally, paper shortages 
appear to affect all papers regardless of political orientation.

In the second half of 1993, press criticism of the Government 
was more open, notably regarding the Government's economic 
program and policy toward Russia.  

A new threat to free and open discussion of issues came from 
criminal elements and organized crime.  This is an aspect of 
Ukrainian life that has grown dramatically, nearly undeterred 
by the Government, since independence.  Some journalists and 
editors report they fear reprisals from criminal elements if 
they expose how Ukrainian organized crime has come to control 
much of private and governmental life.

No law protects or defines the role of government in the 
electronic media.  In the state-sponsored broadcast media, the 
Government has been known to restrict discussion of such 
domestic problems as inter-Orthodox Church squabbles.  Several 
private Ukrainian television channels rebroadcast uncensored 
foreign news programs and create their own programming.  
Foreign broadcasts are received without interference.  Russian 
broadcast media are more popular than their Ukrainian 
counterparts and frequently criticize the Ukrainian 
Government.  Senior government officials are highly critical of 
the Russian media, but the Government does not attempt to jam 
Russian broadcasts.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The law on public assembly, which dates from 1989, stipulates 
that organizations must apply for permission to the respective 
local administration 10 days before a planned demonstration.  
Participants in demonstrations are prohibited by law from 
instigating violence or ethnic conflict and from calling for 
the violent overthrow of the constitutional order.  
Demonstrations may not interfere with traffic, take part near 
the Rada when it is in session, or otherwise hinder municipal 
life.  In Kiev permits are routinely granted.  Unlicensed 
demonstrations, including demonstrations and hunger strikes at 
the Parliament building when the Rada is in session, often 
occur without police interference.

The 1992 law on public organizations prohibits the State from 
financing political parties and other public organizations.  
According to the law, political parties may not receive funds 
from abroad or maintain accounts in foreign banks.  The law  
prohibits organizations advocating the violent overthrow of the 
Government and constitutional order or undermining Ukraine's 
state security by collaboration with other states.  Political 
parties are barred from having administrative or organizational 
structures abroad.  The law prohibits police, members of the 
armed forces, and executive branch officials from joining 
political parties, but many such individuals nonetheless 
publicly associate themselves with specific parties.  

Political parties may be dissolved only by a court decision.  
The Supreme Court may dissolve a party for advocating the 
overthrow of the State, for anti-Ukrainian activities, for 
violating or advocating the violation of the constitutional 
rights of citizens, or for urging citizens not to honor their 
constitutional duties.  Because there have been no dissolutions 
since independence, the criteria are not yet set by precedent.  
The Communist Party of Ukraine, a subsidiary of the former 
Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), was banned 
immediately after the coup attempt of 1991, and many Communists 
participated in establishing the Socialist Party of Ukraine.  
In December 1993, the Government reregistered the Communist 

     c.  Freedom of Religion

The 1991 law on freedom of conscience and religion permits 
religious organizations to establish places of worship and 
train clergy.  Religious organizations are required to register 
with local authorities and with the Government's Council of 
Religious Affairs.  As a rule, the registration process lasts 
about 1 month.  The State has not interfered with the 
registration of minority religions (e.g., Islam, Mormon, 
Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Church of the Nazarene).  

Obstacles to complete religious freedom still exist at the 
local level where in some places the bureaucracy has delayed 
registration of religious organizations.  However, a Ukrainian 
religious organization may not be denied registration.  Any 
Ukrainian group representing itself as a church can apply for 
registration.  While technically no church has been denied 
registration to date, the application of the Ukrainian 
Autocephalous Orthodox Church has not been acted upon for over 
a year, pending the resolution of very contentious property 
issues between Ukrainian communions.

Churches are permitted to maintain links with coreligionists in 
other countries.  Religious publications are freely allowed.  
Greek Catholic, Orthodox, and Jewish services are televised on 
major religious holidays.  Easter and Christmas are official 
holidays.  Religious groups are allowed to proselytize and 
distribute Bibles and other religious publications.

An amendment to the 1991 law, passed by the Rada on December 
23, 1993, raised religious freedom concerns.  President 
Kravchuk, as of the end of the year, had not signed this 
legislation.  The amendment in question states:  "Clergymen, 
religious preachers, teachers, other representatives of foreign 
organizations who are foreign citizens and come to visit 
temporarily in Ukraine may preach religious doctrines, 
administer religious ordinances, or practice other canonic 
activities only in those religious organizations which invited 
them to Ukraine and with official approval of the governmental 
body that has registered the statutes (and) the articles of the 
pertinent religious organization."  This amendment could be 
used to restrict the activities of non-native Ukrainian 
religious organizations.  

Some government officials, citing a desire to preserve 
Ukrainian culture, have stated that restrictions on the 
activities of non-native religious organizations would be 

Religious education classes are permitted in public schools as 
an extracurricular activity.  The Greek Catholic and Orthodox 
churches have seminaries.  Jewish religious schools (yeshivas) 
operate in Kiev, L'viv, Odesa, Kharkiv, Uman, and Vinnytsia.

Jews in Ukraine have expanded opportunities to pursue their 
religious and cultural activities, but anti-Semitic incidents 
continue to occur.  In September a Jewish leader's home was set 
on fire, and another leader received anonymous death threats.  
Jewish cemeteries in Cherkasy oblast were desecrated by 
construction authorized by local authorities that resulted in 
remains being unearthed.  The authorities responded to protests 
by halting the construction.  In addition, several synagogues 
were restored to Jewish communities, and approvals were given 
for the construction of new ones.  

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

Ukraine continues to require its citizens to register with a 
local Visas and Registration Office (OVIR), a Soviet-era 
relic.  In 1993 Ukraine dropped its requirement for exit visas, 
and all citizens are eligible for passports that permit free 
travel abroad.  Passports issued before independence must be 
submitted for certification of citizenship status.

Ukraine assures the right of return for all those it considers 
its citizens.  Persons born in Ukraine and living in Ukraine at 
the time of independence are considered citizens.  The right of 
return is available to people of Ukrainian descent who left the 
country prior to independence and did not assume other 
citizenship.  Dual citizenship is not permitted.  In mid-1992 
the Government issued a statement allowing all those born in 
Ukraine to receive a document from any Ukrainian diplomatic 
mission abroad that would serve as a travel document to Ukraine.

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens 
           to Change Their Government

The peaceful, democratic transfer of power from an incumbent 
government to an opposition party has yet to be tested.  The 
present Rada was elected under the Soviet system and during 
Communist party domination.  On September 24, the Rada, already 
rendered ineffective by a continuing deadlock with the 
Government, voted to hold early elections for a new president 
and a new Rada.  The parliamentary elections are scheduled for 
March 27, 1994, and presidential elections are to be held on 
June 26, 1994.  However, a new law on elections has yet to be 
adopted.  The right to vote is granted to all adult citizens 
regardless of nationality, religion, or sex.  

In 1992 the Rada gave extraordinary powers to President 
Kravchuk and temporarily (until May 1993) relinquished its 
powers to the Prime Minister in a number of crucial economic 
areas.  The Rada recovered those powers from the Prime Minister 
in May 1993 without a serious confrontation with the executive 

President Kravchuk continues to dominate political life.  
During 1992, at Kravchuk's request, the Rada passed a law on 
"presidential representation" which gives the President 
authority to appoint a representative to each oblast.  The law 
gave the representative broad powers over local government and 
further concentrated political power in the executive branch.  
In many cases, presidential representatives used these powers 
to promote reform in oblasts and cities.  In 1993, however, the 
Rada, many of whose members were alarmed at the pace of reform 
or at the growth of presidential authority, successfully 
curtailed the powers of presidential representatives.  The 
effect was to slow economic reforms.

Deputies to the Rada, as well as the members of oblast 
councils, were elected to 5-year terms in 1990, before 
independence.  Most of the deputies at both the national and 
local levels are conservatives drawn from the Communist Party 
nomenclatura.  A number of reform-minded Communist deputies 
formed new parties or joined forces with the opposition, and 
the Rada is now divided about equally between the conservatives 
and the opposition coalition of nationalists and 
reform-oriented deputies.  

The Rada continues to debate the provisions of a new 
constitution, but there is no clear timetable for its 
adoption.  The division of power between the legislature and 
the executive has yet to be determined.  Many deputies have 
criticized the draft for giving the President too much 
authority.  A coalition of democratic forces, including Rukh 
and a political alliance, New Ukraine, spearheaded a campaign 
to hold a popular referendum on the President and the Rada that 
eventually led to the Rada's decision to call early 
parliamentary and presidential elections.

Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
           of Human Rights

The Government allowed local and international human rights 
groups to operate freely.  The Union of Councils for Soviet 
Jews has an active office in Kiev, staffed with local human 
rights monitors.  The Government also welcomed visits by 
foreign human rights organizations.  The U.S. Commission on 
Security and Cooperation in Europe was invited to observe the 
independence referendum (later canceled) and presidential 

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
           Disability, Language, or Social Status

Discrimination on the basis of race, sex, and other grounds is 
prohibited in the Constitution.


There are reports of violence against women, often involving 
the high incidence of alcoholism, but no statistics are 
available.  Ukrainian labor law guarantees all work-related 
rights to women as well as men.  Although equal pay for equal 
work is the law, women are seldom seen in high-level managerial 
positions or in high political office. However, educational 
opportunities for women are improving, and more women are 
entering the legal, medical, and journalism professions.  Women 
may be the chief victims of unemployment caused by the economic 
crisis.  Some estimates indicate that women account for 90 
percent of the unemployed.  There is poor understanding of the 
meaning of discrimination against women and no widespread 
women's rights activity.  

There is a lack of awareness of spouse abuse and other violence 
against women as a women's rights issue.  There are no separate 
statistics on prosecutions for wife beating or on average 
sentences.  Some sources assert that the low incidence of 
reported crimes against women is evidence that violence against 
women is not a problem.  However, other sources assert that 
women may not report crimes against them because they perceive 
the legal system to be ineffective and inhospitable.  
Government officials have acknowledged that women are often 
pressured by authorities to drop charges against their husbands 
to preserve the family.  


Government officials assert that the Government is committed to 
children's rights.  Because of the deepening economic crisis, 
the Government has taken few specific steps to further a 
children's rights agenda.  Much of the social welfare system is 
dedicated to the support of children, including:  supplemental 
state payments to families with children, generous postpartum 
paid leave benefits, numerous children's hospitals, and 
universal free education at all levels.

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

Although a 1989 law promotes Ukrainian as the state language, 
the November 1991 law on the rights of national minorities 
allows individual citizens to use their respective national 
languages in conducting personal business.  Laws and decrees 
are published in both Russian and Ukrainian.  In areas where 
there are large Russian minorities (Crimea and eastern 
Ukraine), Russian is permitted as a language of official 
correspondence alongside Ukrainian and is also the language of 
instruction in schools.  Russian is recognized as the official 
language of Crimea.  Elsewhere, the Russian minority complained 
of language discrimination.  There was no evidence of serious 
Russian-Ukrainian ethnic tension except in Crimea, where the 
Ukrainian minority complains of discrimination by the Russian 
majority, and in some parts of western Ukraine, where local 
Ukrainian nationalists discriminate against the minority 
Russian population.  

Some Russians (and Ukrainians) in Ukraine have complained about 
the increased use of Ukrainian (the official state language) in 
schools and in the media.  The Russian-speaking people of 
eastern Ukraine have claimed that their children are forced to 
take Ukrainian-language tests, and their poor showings on these 
tests negatively affect their scholastic careers.  It is up to 
the municipality, not the central Government, to determine the 
language of instruction in the schools.  The draft constitution 
also guarantees local minorities the choice of language in 
public and private life.

Polish, Hungarian, and other ethnic minorities have been 
granted sites for schools and cultural organizations.  While 
there may be some isolated cases of discrimination against 
ethnic Russians, the majority of Ukrainian citizens do not 
appear to differentiate between Ukrainian and Russian 

The Ukrainian citizenship law confers the same legal status on 
all citizens regardless of ethnic affiliation.  However, it 
does not recognize dual citizenship, unless specifically 
guaranteed by a bilateral treaty.  Russia and Ukraine, for 
example, have no bilateral treaty on this subject, although 
Russia has repeatedly urged Ukraine to discuss dual 
citizenship.  In 1991 the Rada amended the citizenship law to 
remove notations in passports identifying citizens by ethnicity 
and religion.

     Religious Minorities

Jews are the second largest minority in Ukraine.  Emigration to 
the West and Israel has resulted in a decline in their 
population.  Despite government statements denouncing 
anti-Semitism, manifestations of it continue, exemplified by 
the growth of an ultranationalist extremist group in western 
Ukraine which professes strong anti-Semitic sentiment.  The 
group applied for recognition as a political party, but the 
Government refused to register it.  Distribution of 
anti-Semitic posters and literature appeared to increase during 
the year.

     People with Disabilities

By law, no discrimination based on disability is permitted; 
however, persons with disabilities are rarely employed.  In the 
present economic crisis with high unemployment, there are no 
effective governmental programs targeted at increasing 
opportunities for the disabled.  Public facilities are poorly 
adapted for the disabled.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

Soviet law, or pertinent parts of the 1978 Ukrainian 
Constitution, continue to regulate the activities of trade 
unions.  The law on citizens' organizations passed in 1992 
guarantees noninterference by public authorities in the 
activities of citizens' organizations and the right of these 
organizations to establish and join federations, and to 
affiliate with international organizations on a voluntary 
basis.  A new constitution and new law on trade unions are 
being debated, which will affect the future status and 
activities of trade unions.  In principle, all workers and 
civil servants (including members of the armed forces) are free 
to form unions.  In practice, the Government discourages 
certain categories of workers (e.g., nuclear power plant 
employees) from doing so.

A successor to the former official Soviet trade unions, the 
official Ukrainian trade union, known as the Federation of 
Trade Unions (FTU), has begun to work independently of the 
Government and has been vocal in opposing draft legislation 
that would restrict the right to strike.  The FTU is considered 
a partner with management in the running of state enterprises.  
The Government provides this organization with office buildings 
and resort properties.  The FTU has no official or legal 
relationship with the Socialist Party of Ukraine.

Many independent Ukrainian unions now provide an alternative to 
the official unions in most sectors of the economy.  Some, such 
as the Independent Miners' Union of Ukraine (NPGU), emerged out 
of the 1989 strike committees and were instrumental in creating 
the independent miners' unions of the U.S.S.R. but broke away 
when Ukraine became independent.  Independent unions were 
established in the Black Sea fleet, among the military officers 
of Ukraine, and among the scientific workers of the academy of 
sciences.  In early 1992, the NPGU, pilots, civil air 
dispatchers, locomotive engineers, and aviation ground crews 
unions formed the Consultative Council of Free Trade Unions.  
This entity acts independently of the FTU.  In negotiating 
wages, the Government has invited all unions, not just the FTU, 
to participate.

The law on labor conflict resolution guarantees the right to 
strike to all but members of the armed forces, civil and 
security services, and employees of "continuing process plants" 
(e.g., metallurgical factories).  The law prohibits strikes 
that "may infringe on the basic needs of the population" (e.g., 
rail and air transportation).  Strikes based on political 
demands are illegal.  However, this did not stop miners and 
transportation workers from making political as well as 
economic demands during their September strike.  The law 
forbids penalizing union members who participate in strikes.  
The Government has relied on the courts to deal with strikes 
that it feels have violated the law.  The courts, however, have 
not always ruled in favor of government views.  

There are no official restrictions on the right of unions to 
affiliate with international trade union bodies; the NPGU is a 
member of the International Miners' Union.  The American 
Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations has a 
permanent representative in Kiev who interacts freely with the 
Consultative Council of Independent Trade Unions.  Independent 
unions have not been pressured to limit their contacts with 
international nongovernmental organizations.

In October a leader of one of the independent labor 
organizations alleged that the Security Service seized 
documents relating to international activities and detained a 
union official responsible for international affairs.  While 
the union official remains in custody, due to the lack of bail 
in the Ukrainian system, this incident appears to be an 
isolated case which may involve criminal activity.  No similar 
reports of harassment, before or after this incident, have been 

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

In accordance with the law on enterprises, joint worker-
management commissions should resolve issues concerning wages, 
working conditions, and the rights and duties of management at 
the enterprise level, a system that is not clearly defined.  
Overlapping spheres of responsibility frequently impede the 
collective bargaining process.  Wages in each industrial sector 
are established by government agreements with trade unions.  
All unions are invited to participate in the negotiations.  The 
law on labor conflict resolution introduced another 
bureaucracy, the National Mediation and Reconciliation Service, 
to mitigate labor-management disputes that cannot be resolved 
at the enterprise level.  The President appoints the head of 
this service.  

Collective bargaining law prejudices the bargaining process 
against the independent trade unions and favors the official 
unions.  The collective bargaining law provides for dues to be 
taken from the pay of every worker in a collective and paid to 
the official union.  The social welfare benefits of workers 
paid by an enterprise are administered for the enterprise by 
the official union.  

Most workers are never informed that they are not obligated to 
join the official union, and joining an independent union can 
be bureaucratically onerous.  Three steps must be followed to 
direct one's dues to an independent union.  First, the worker 
must submit a form to the official union stating that the 
worker does not wish the official union to represent the 
worker.  Second, the worker must submit a form to the 
independent union declaring the worker's desire to join the 
independent union.  Finally, a third form must be submitted to 
the enterprise directing that payroll deductions be given to 
the indpendent union.  Independent unions are not given 
resources to administer social welfare benefits.  Enterprise 
directors discourage departures from the offical union by 
meeting with workers to discuss the benefits of official union 

The collective bargaining law prohibits antiunion 
discrimination.  The courts resolve disputes under that law.  
There have been cases in which such disputes have not been 
resolved in a fair and equitable manner.

There are no export processing zones in Ukraine.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

The Constitution forbids compulsory labor, and it is not known 
to exist.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

The minimum employment age is 17.  However, in certain 
nonhazardous industries, enterprises can negotiate with the 
Government to hire employees between 15 and 17 years of age.  
Education is compulsory up to age 15.  The Ministry of 
Education vigorously enforces the law on education.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

In 1992 the Government established a countrywide minimum wage.  
Prior to the onset of high inflation, the minimum wage and 
numerous other mandatory subsidies provided a decent income for 
a family.  However, monthly inflation rose dramatically during 
1993, beginning at about 40 percent in January, according to 
unofficial estimates, and reaching about 70 percent in 
December.  This hyperinflation has seriously eroded incomes, 
and over half the population of Ukraine now lives below the 
poverty level, with further declines expected.  In theory, the 
current law on wages, pensions, and social security provides 
for mechanisms to index the minimum wage to inflation.  

The Labor Code provides for a maximum 41-hour workweek and at 
least 15 workdays of paid vacation per year.  Ukrainian labor 
law provides for at least one 24-hour rest period per week.    
Economic stagnation in some industries (e.g., defense) have 
significantly reduced the workweek for some categories of 
workers.  Gross undercompensation for overtime work in some 
sectors (e.g., railroad workers) has resulted in strikes.

The Constitution and other laws contain occupational safety and 
health standards, but these are frequently ignored in 
practice.  Lax safety conditions were the principal causes of 
two serious mine accidents that occurred in the summer of 1992, 
resulting in dozens of casualties.  In theory, workers have the 
legal right to remove themselves from dangerous work situations 
without jeopardizing continued employment.  In reality, 
however, labor experts say that continued employment would be 
in question.  The Labor Ministry is currently rewriting the 
mine safety law.  The NPGU is demanding that the Government 
improve worker safety in the mines.

[end of document]


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