House of Lords written question – answered at on 20 May 2013.

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Photo of Lord Ashcroft Lord Ashcroft Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the statement in April 2013 by the International Young Democrat Union on recent political developments in Ukraine.

Photo of Baroness Warsi Baroness Warsi Senior Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Jointly with the Department for Communities and Local Government), Senior Minister of State (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Faith and Communities) (also in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

The statement by the International Young Democrat Union identifies a number of concerns that the UK shares.

The UK wants to see an effective Ukrainian chairmanship-in-office of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and has encouraged and supported Ukraine to use this opportunity to show that it respects OSCE values.

This includes respecting the rule of law and independence of the judiciary. We have repeatedly made clear representations to the Government of Ukraine about cases of selective justice. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right honourable friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague) did so most recently on 13 May when he met the Ukrainian Foreign Minister. We support action, in line with European values and practices, to strengthen Ukraine's judicial and legislative institutions and enhance their capacity to inspire confidence and trust. In that context, the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right honourable friend Mr Lidington welcomed the pardon and release of former Interior Minister Yuri Lutsenko, although we are concerned by a separate decision that limited his ability to participate fully in political life. We look forward to further progress in this important area.

We have called on the Government of Ukraine to ensure that legislation is fully compliant with Ukraine's international commitments, including under the European Convention for Human Rights, and respects the protection afforded to human rights under Ukraine's constitution. We routinely express concern over the potential introduction of legislation or policies that run counter to principles of non-discrimination and freedom of expression.

We have raised with the Ukrainian Foreign Minister our concern at recent developments that appear aimed at circumventing parliament, such as last month's extramural session where the ruling party approved legislation which the President has now signed into law.

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