Ukraine amends disclosure law to include NGOs President Poroshenko wants anti-corruption groups to declare assets
April 14, 2017.
The amendments to the e-declaration law threaten to harm relations between President Petro Poroshenko’s government and its western backers Ukraine will require anticorruption groups to make the same asset disclosures as politicians and public servants, a step that NGOs say attacks their work and distracts from their attempts to bring more transparency.
14.04.2017 Ukraine amends disclosure law to include NGOs Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine’s president, on Monday signed an amendment to an “edeclaration” law that was introduced last year. The law required civil servants to reveal their wealth and sparked public anger after many officials declared assets from expensive cars and property to art and jewellery.
That disclosure requirement has now been extended to anticorruption NGOs. Critics claim the amendment is discriminatory for singling out some NGOs and being unclear in identifying them, leaving room for selective quashing of those most critical of Mr. Poroshenko. Those who fail to file the declarations can face hefty fines and jail sentences. Halya Coynash of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, a Ukrainian rights body, said Mr Poroshenko had signed into law a “dangerous bill which could be used to put pressure on NGOs, investigative journalists or activists”.
“He has in short allowed a law which his predecessor Viktor Yanukovich, now in hiding in
Russia, would be proud of,” she added.
The change threatens to harm relations between Mr Poroshenko’s government and western
backers, which have generally been supportive of Kiev’s efforts to curb corruption and
reform the economy.
“The new requirements protect politicians unhappy with public scrutiny and allow them to
retaliate against those involved in anticorruption investigations,” said Freedom House, a USbased NGO.
Jose Ugaz, chair of Transparency International, said Ukraine’s lawmakers were “trying to
intimidate civil society and in particular anticorruption activists”. The US embassy in Kiev and the EU urged Mr. Poroshenko last week not to approve the amendments, which were adopted by Ukraine’s parliament. “Edeclarations should target corruption in public administration, not hamper the work of civil society,” said Johannes Hahn, EUenlargement chief.
Mr. Poroshenko said it was necessary to amend the law so that it no longer applied to lowerranking Instant Insight Ukraine focuses on internal struggles amid tension with Russia A bumpy week in Kiev shows that real stability remains elusive.
14.04.2017 Ukraine amends disclosure law to include NGOs. He pledged to protect NGOs and called for working groups to draft necessary amendments.Presidential allies and some other analysts insisted that NGOs involved in influencing domestic governance should be held up to the same level of transparency.
Adrian Karatnycky, a senior fellow at the USbased Atlantic Council, said: “Many of these
NGOs receive foreign government funding for their work and engage in lobbying and
pressuring the government, all legitimate activities . . .but such activists who benefit from
such funding should be open to public scrutiny.”
Print a single copy of this article for personal use. Contact us if you wish to print more to
distribute to others. The Financial Times Ltd.