EURASIA LIFT

Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Ukraine – New Legislation – More Power To East To End Separatist Fighting

Posted by Info on 30/09/2014

Ukraine’s parliament has voted to give the east of the country limited self-rule and also ratified an agreement to deeper economic and political ties with the European Union.

The main points of the legislation, unveiled as part of a peace plan signed with pro-Russian insurgents and Moscow on 5 September are:

• The rebel-held Luhansk and Donetsk regions will be granted a “special status” giving them broader autonomy for a three-year period.

• Local elections will be held in some districts of the two mainly Russian-speaking regions on 7 December. The last local elections held nationwide were in October 2010.

• Use of the Russian language to be allowed in state institutions.

• Regional councils will have the power to appoint local judges and prosecutors.

• Local authorities in Donetsk and Luhansk can “strengthen good neighbourly relations” with their counterparts across the border in Russia.

• The legislation also promises to help restore damaged infrastructure and to provide social and economic assistance to particularly hard-hit areas.

• Another bill on amnesty protects from criminal prosecution “participants of events in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions” – appearing to apply to both the insurgents and Ukrainian government troops. Rights groups have accused fighters on both sides of abuses that might be classified as war crimes.

Donetsk and Luhansk, known as the Donbass, have a combined population of nearly 7 million people (total in Ukraine 45,5 million people). But it is responsible for nearly a 174 of Ukraine’s exports and is home to strategic military production facilities that supply engines and other vital parts to the Russian space and aviation industries.

The industrial region with its coal mines and steelworks have been the engine of Ukraine’s economy since the 19th century.

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