Volunteer organizations raise alarm over a bill that has already been approved by the dedicated committee and included on the parliamentary agenda.
Meanwhile, the President continues to address issues outside of his competence and authority. This time — on the judiciary and culture.
“Support” for volunteer organizations (4521)
Status: the bill is ready for the first reading. MPs can still propose their amendments.
Who is affected: volunteer organizations, volunteers (foreigners and stateless persons in particular), the Ministry of Social Policy, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the Security Service.
Summary of the bill:
- volunteers will be allowed to help with ex-convicts’ social adaptation
- before engaging foreigners and stateless persons to work in Ukraine, volunteer organizations will have to sign written agreements with them
- the procedure of engagement of foreign volunteers will change. An organization will have to comply with the following requirements:
- to be included in a special register of volunteer organizations, an organization has to:
- either to provide social assistance without proving accommodation (NACE 88.99) or work as “other non-governmental organizations” (NACE 94.99)
- submit an application signed by the head of the organization requesting to be included in the register
- to provide information about its foreign volunteers: name, surname, birth date, passport details, place of residence, etc. and keep this information up to date
- the Ministry of Social Policy will request information from the State Security Service and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about whether foreign applicants for volunteering are recognized as a threat to national security, rights, or freedoms. Upon receiving this information, the Ministry of Social Policy will make decisions at its discretion
- a volunteer organization can be excluded from the register for committing fraud, providing false information, or withholding information updates about its foreign volunteers.
Why this important: according to the Ministry of Social Policy, in 2015-2020, over 500 organizations engaged foreign volunteers in their work. The cosponsors of the draft bill, however, are convinced that in some cases the foreigners in question were engaged in some other activities and not volunteering.
What is wrong:
- the bill makes life much harder for volunteer organizations engaging foreign citizens in their work. The work of such organizations will depend on the willingness and ability of the state to issue necessary permits in time, for example. In particular, the bill does not clarify what should be done in cases when the Security Service or the Ministry of Internal Affairs do not respond to information requests from the Ministry of Social Policy
- the Ministry of Social Policy has not addressed the core problem: it is almost impossible for foreigners to get a Ukrainian residence permit and, thus, to get a legal job. Foreign volunteers that fought in the volunteer battalions, for example, are unable to stay in the country they defended.
- expand the list of legal reasons allowing foreign citizens to apply for a Ukrainian residence permit
- introduce humanitarian visas.
Strategy for the development of the judiciary and constitutional justice
Decision-maker: the President.
Who is affected: judges, judges of the Constitutional Court, and Ukrainian citizens.
Summary of the decree: the strategy sets the following tasks:
- reorganization of local courts: to conduct an audit, analyze the network of local courts, and develop a methodology to calculate the optimal number of judges
- the Supreme Court: to analyze the issue of restructuring the Supreme Court, improve mechanisms defining the composition of the Grand Chamber and the work of the liquidated Supreme Court of Ukraine
- the Constitutional Court: to improve the approach to checking judges’ integrity, procedures of competitive selection, and regulations on the work of the Constitutional Court.
What is wrong:
- the President interferes with issues outside of his authority. Nationwide state programs have to be prepared and implemented by the Cabinet and approved by the Verkhovna Rada. The President cannot approve strategies on any issue outside of his powers
- judiciary and constitutional justice are regulated by the Constitution and laws of Ukraine. The President can submit a draft bill concerning these issues but not approve a strategy.
Creation of the Museum and Cultural Center for Contemporary Art of Ivan Marchuk
Decision-maker: the President.
Who is affected: the Cabinet, the State Management of Affairs, and artists.
Summary of the decree:
- supports the initiative proposed by representatives of the creative community to establish the Museum and Cultural Center for Contemporary Art of Ivan Marchuk
- gives orders to the Cabinet:
- to develop the concept and implementation plan of the project in cooperation with the creative community
- to carry out a promotional campaign
- to allocate the necessary funding from the government budget, in particular for the repairs of the buildings at Volodymyra Vynnychenka St., 10 (Kyiv)
- to the State Management of Affairs — to ensure the repairs and transfer of the buildings under the management of the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy.
What is wrong:
- the President has no authority to address issues of cultural policy and assign tasks for the Cabinet to create cultural establishments
- the President has no power to allocate funds from the government budget. The body responsible for finances and budgeting is the Cabinet, and only the Cabinet can prepare and execute the government budget.
Alternative solution: the initiative should have been promoted by the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy in cooperation with local authorities. Calculations of the funding necessary for the creation and maintenance of the Center should have been agreed and approved by the Ministry of Finance.
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