Ukraine: Proposed Restrictions on Foreign-Funded CSOs

On 13 April 2020 the Verkhovna Rada registered the Draft Law No. 3326 on Amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On Cleaning State Authorities” submitted by MP Khrystenko (Opposition Platform – For Life). The draft law proposes to amend the Law of Ukraine “On Cleaning State Authorities”, namely:

To forbid access to various state positions by people who have had, directly or through third parties, contact with non-profit organizations (including public associations) that receive funding from:

– foreign countries

– authorities or officials of foreign countries

– international civil society organizations or civil society organizations of foreign countries

– foreign legal entities

– foreign citizens

– stateless persons or persons authorized by them

– from any other source of financing located outside Ukraine.

Such contact with non-profit organizations, in particular public associations, means that a person within 10 last years:

– held the management position; or

– was part of the governing body; or

– was a member of CSOs; or

– performed work, provided services or otherwise engaged in activities.

In addition, a person who meets the above conditions and who already holds a position being cleared (lustrated) must be dismissed within one month from the date of entry into force of the draft law.

The changes that are being proposed are extremely negative and would not only affect most of the active CSOs in the country now but also have to some extent a retro-active effect as they will cover all people that have been associated in any form with f-reign-funded CSOs in the past 10 years. Such changes are starting a new wave of struggle against those who oppose the old corrupt “elites” and do not receive funding from Ukrainian oligarchs.

Moreover, the bill counters to the provisions of Article 24 of the Constitution, which establishes the equality of the constitutional rights of all citizens and prohibits any restrictions on those rights – naturally, other than the restrictions set out by the Constitution.