Ukrainian Parliament Works to Build Dialogue and Peace

Kyiv, May 28, 2014. Ukraine’s will to build peace and find solutions to existing problems became even more evident after the Ukrainian parliament approved a Memorandum of Understanding and Peace last week. Reportedly, the initiative, which became possible due to the recent efforts of Ukraine’s Interim Government and the Parliament, as well as through the results of recent elections, aims to effectively encourage dialogue within society to solve the Ukrainian crisis.

In the Memorandum of Understanding and Peace, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine declared that based on broad national dialogue, it would work to implement immediate constitutional reform, and to decentralize the government.

The constitutional reform is also aimed at accomplishing: 1. consolidation of Ukraine’s status as a parliamentary-presidential republic and a balance of power between all the branches at the national and local levels; 2. provision to the authorities of regional offices the necessary financial resources through the establishment of equitable distribution of revenues; 3. provision of wide-ranging judicial reform to guarantee citizens’ rights to a fair and just trial and securing the independence of the judiciary; 4. reform of law enforcement agencies and prosecutors to ensure the rights and freedoms of citizens’ security and restore trust in the law enforcement system through the elimination of general supervision in the prosecutor’s office; 5. fight against corruption at all levels of government through the creation of a National Anti-Corruption Authority which will have broad powers to monitor the activities of officials.

The parliament also called on the people of Ukraine to prevent inter-confessional and inter-ethnic conflicts in the country. Along with the constitutional status of the Ukrainian language as the state language, the Supreme Council of Ukraine shall provide assurance status of the Russian language. The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine also promised to adopt the Law of Ukraine “On local referenda”.

The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine declared its obligation to pass a law to prevent the prosecution of citizens for participation in mass actions in Ukraine if they release captured buildings and other public places and voluntarily turn over weapons, with the exception of persons who have committed especially grave crimes against life and health.

The parliament of Ukraine called on law enforcement agencies to prepare an action plan to ensure the safety of citizens, prevent attacks on human health and life, free hostages and administrative buildings, and disband illegal arms formations to ensure the return of soldiers involved in counter-terrorism operations to their permanent stations.

The EU and the US have declared support for Ukrainian authorities’ efforts to build dialogue and peace among all the regions of Ukraine. On Saturday May 24, Angela Merkel declared that the EU should do everything possible to prevent war in Ukraine and to support peace and dialogue. “Our task today is to again drive forward the peace project, especially in view of Ukraine,” she stated.

The Ukrainian government supported the Geneva agreements of April 17 2014 that aimed for the de-escalation of tension and the restoration of security for all Ukrainian citizens, and initiated round tables for “National Unity”. Moreover, numerous times the Ukrainian parliament has demonstrated its commitment to helping to build dialogue in society.

The Memorandum of Understanding and Peace was adopted on May 20, 2014, by 252 votes out of 450. The Memorandum includes constitutional reform based on the decentralization of the government and on the special status of the Russian language and law on local referenda.