On March 22, 2012, the Ukrainian Parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, voted to adopt a new Law on Public Associations. The Law was developed by public experts and its adoption was result of active pressure from Ukrainian non-governmental organizations, international organizations, and the diplomatic community.
The new provisions governing the legal status of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), are in compliance with European standards, namely with Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)14 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to member states on the legal status of non-governmental organisations in Europe. The new Law on Public Associations provides for:
- simplification of the registration procedures for public associations;
- the right of NGOs to pursue any lawful interest or objective (not only the interests of its members);
- the right of legal entities to establish and to acquire membership in public associations;
- right of public association to conduct activities throughout the territory of Ukraine, regardless of their place of registration; and
- the right of NGOs to engage in entrepreneurial activities to support their not-for-profit activities.
All of the provisions listed above are new to Ukrainian legislation.
Ukraine was required by the Council of Europe to adopt this draft law. In 2008, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Ukrainian legislation on NGOs violated Article 11 of the Convention on Human Rights, namely the right of freedom of association. In October 2010, the European Council adopted Resolution 1755 “On the functioning of democratic institutions in Ukraine”, calling upon Ukrainian authorities to adopt a new law on NGOs.
The President of Ukraine now has 15 days to either promulgate the law or to veto it.
Ukrainian public associations appeal to international organizations and democratic states to remain attentive to the progress of the new Law on Public Associations and to alert decision-makers to its importance.