Protecting Cultural Diversity and Building Human Rights Culture

21 May 2021

Today we celebrate World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. This day was established by the United Nations General Assembly 19 years ago, recognizing the need to enhance the potential of culture as a means of achieving prosperity, sustainable development and global peaceful coexistence.

One hundred and sixty four (164) countries that adopted the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration in 2018 committed to promote mutual respect for the cultures, traditions and customs of communities of destination and of migrants by exchanging and implementing best practices on integration policies, to promote acceptance of diversity and to facilitate social cohesion and inclusion.

For the second consecutive year, we celebrate World Day for Cultural Diversity in a challenging context of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is having an unprecedented and devastating global impact, including on all categories of migrants and their family members. The Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights and IOM, the UN Migration Agency, are concerned by the fact that worldwide, despite being fundamental to the pandemic response as essential workers, migrants have been targeted and stigmatized, even falling victim to racist, xenophobic acts and hate crimes. In such a context, acceptance of cultural diversity is crucial for helping migrants and host communities better know and understand each other, overcome stereotypes, counter fear and hate and remain healthy.

Ukraine has made a clear commitment to promoting cultural diversity as an essential element for dialogue within the Ukrainian society and for national development. The State Migration Policy Strategy of Ukraine for the period until 2025 envisages adherence to cultural diversity and fulfillment of cultural needs of immigrant communities in Ukraine as well as support to the cultural needs of Ukrainian communities abroad.

The National Human Right Strategy of Ukraine, adopted this March, aims to ensure the observance and implementation of the principle of non-discrimination in all the spheres of the society life by central and local government bodies, as well as respect of cultural diversity. The Strategy stipulates for ensuring conditions for the development of ethnic, cultural, language and religious diversity of all the indigenous communities and national minorities and supports intercultural dialogue.

At the same time, the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsperson’s Office) works closely to ensure protection of migrants’ rights. Despite constraints, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic across the world, efforts have been strengthened to enhance parliamentary control over observance of migrants’ rights in Ukraine during the last and current years.

Key areas of the Ombudsperson’s Office’s work include the development of proposals and recommendations related to the draft laws, other legislation, state programmes, action plans, ratification of international treaties, as well as promotion of international cooperation aimed at ensuring migrants’ rights.

In June 2020, the Ombudsperson’s Office established the Coordination Council for Protection of Migrants’ Rights. It includes representatives of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), IOM, non-profit organizations “The Right to Protection”, “The Tenth of April”, “Rokada” and “NEEKA”, members of the Georgian, Armenian, Syrian, African, Ethiopian, Korean and Vietnamese diasporas, as well members of the scientific and expert community.

The Coordination Council analyzes the compliance of the national legislation and law enforcement practices with the international obligations of Ukraine in the area of observance of migrants’ human rights and fundamental freedoms. It summarizes international standards and best practices in the area of protection of migrants’ rights; prepares conclusions and suggestions about laws, draft laws and other regulations; promotes the implementation of civil society initiatives; formulates recommendations for the prevention of violations of migrants' rights and their restoration; promotes legal culture and legal awareness of the population in the area of observance of migrants' rights and works to enhance the cooperation between the Ombudsperson’s Office and migrant associations, civil society organizations working in the area of protection of migrants’ rights, as well as representatives of the scientific and expert community.

To learn more about Ombudsperson’s Office and the Coordination Council, please visit www.ombudsman.gov.ua, call 044-298-70-66 or send your request to hotline@ombudsman.gov.ua.

Liudmyla DENISOVA, Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights

Anh NGUYEN, IOM Ukraine Chief of Mission

 

 

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