Transparency International Ukraine refuses to participate in the working group devoted to the development of changes to the Law of Ukraine on e-declarations under President Petro Poroshenko. Authorities must first abolish the amendments to the legislation which discriminate against representatives of anti-corruption civil society. Only then, it will be possible to set up a working group dedicated to fostering transparency in this sector.
Presidential representative Artur Herasymov expressed his intention to establish the working group at a meeting of the coordination board, consisting of faction leaders and parliamentary committee chairmen, on Monday, April 3. He continued by expressing his desire for the Executive Director of Transparency International Ukraine to join the working group.
However, the organization has yet to receive some proposals from the authorities, and there is no information regarding its purpose or tasks. Moreover, ТІ Ukraine has repeatedly expressed its position concerning e-declarations by representatives of civil society. The anti-corruption organization supports the position taken by our colleagues from the Reanimation Package of Reforms, and issued a joint statement regarding the amendments to the anti-corruption law, together with the Secretariat of the global network Transparency International, which is closely following the attack on non-governmental organizations in Ukraine.
«We will continue pursuing the abolishment of the amendments. Only after that, together with authorities, can we deal with raising transparency issues within the third sector. I consider the appeal to participate in the working group inappropriate, as the problems we discussed remain unsolved,» stated Yaroslav Yurchyshyn. He also emphasized that statements made by representatives of the authorities on the closed nature of civil society are manipulative, as most of leading anti-corruption organizations, including TI Ukraine, regularly publish their reports and the results of independent financial audits.
The organization’s experts sought to examine similar legislation in Western countries, in particular, EU member states and the USA, concerning e-declaration requirements by civil society representatives, but failed to find such regulations. In democratic countries, civil society activists declare their assets to tax agencies, as is the case in Ukraine.
“As civil society organisations do not have the same powers as the authorities and receive money not from the State, but from donors, reporting only to tax agencies and donors for them is reasonable and adequate. On the other hand, according to decisions made by the European Court of Human Rights, where European authorities turned, open asset declaration
of persons authorized to perform state functions and who get salaries from the state budget, is fully justified,” explained the Head of the Policy Analysis Program at TI Ukraine Oleksandr Kalitenko.
Therefore, ТІ Ukraine once again calls on the authorities to abolish the amendments made to the Law of Ukraine «On Corruption Prevention», which require obligatory declaration for members of anti-corruption civil society organizations, all their contractors and even participants at actions dedicated to fighting corruption, which are initiated by civil society organizations. Such regulations are an open assault to the third sector, and attempts by the authority representative to impose these regulations on civil society organizations are both backward and illogical.