Ombudsman believes the ban on criticizing authorities for public officials to be unconstitutional

Valeria Lutkovskaya, the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Verkhovna Rada, has informed that the citizens complain about the non-conformity of subparagraph 2, paragraph 7 of the Rules of Ethical Conduct for Public Officials implemented by the resolution #65 of the Cabinet of Ministers from 11.02.2016 with the Constitution of Ukraine .

The aforementioned norm provides that public officials in their activities shall be guided by the principle of loyalty, meaning abstaining from any expression of public criticism of the activity of public agencies and their executives. Public officials shall be subject to disciplinary charges for violating these rules.

In her appeal to the Prime Minister, Ombudsman has pointed out that these provisions of the Rules provide the restriction of freedom of speech and free expression of one’s opinions guaranteed in Article 34 of the Constitution of Ukraine. Only law, as opposed to a resolution that the Rules of Ethical Conduct were implemented by, can restrict the exercise of these rights.

Moreover, the right to freedom of expression is provided in Article 10 of the Convention for Protection of Human Rights, according to which every person shall have the right to freely express their opinion, with no obstruction from public authorities.

Ombudsman has advised the Prime Minister to review the question of repealing the resolution #65.

 

Based on the information of the press service of Ombudsman

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