In recent years, Ukraine has consistently adopted legislative acts that blatantly violate the basic rights of State forming peoples and national minorities, including the right to free development and use of the native language. This is a serious violation of the rights of ethnic Russians, Hungarians, Poles, Romanians, Belarusians, Moldavians, Greeks, Slovaks and representatives of other ethnic groups.
The European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission), in its 2019 findings on the law “On Ensuring the Functioning of the Ukrainian Language as a State Language”, noted that this act contradicted the Constitution of Ukraine and its international obligations in the field of human rights, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of language and ethnicity. The opinion of the Venice Commission was ignored by the Ukraine authorities.
Moreover, in May 2021, the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, introduced a bill “On Indigenous Peoples” to the Verkhovna Rada. The criterion proposed by the Ukrainian authorities for identifying “indigenous people” – the absence of “their own state education outside Ukraine” – has no legal basis in the documents of international organisations, including the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of lndigenous Peoples. The provisions of the draft law also contradict Ukraine's obligations under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.
The Parliamentary Assembly should consider the problem of the rights of national minorities in Ukraine and give reasonable opinion on it.