Legal experts supported by Solidarity Center partner Labor Initiatives (LI), an organization representing and advancing worker rights in Ukraine, contributed recommendations that were incorporated into the country’s latest National Human Rights Strategy. The 2021–2023 strategy—a legally binding document to be implemented by state authorities in accordance with United Nations International Standards and Principals and Ukraine’s Association Agreement with the European Union—was signed into force by President Volodymyr Zelensky earlier this year.
Up to 100 action points are listed in the new strategy, including several advanced by LI lawyers Inna Kudinska, George Sandul, Katia Shvets and Nadia Yolkina in sections on freedom of association, worker rights, social protections, business and human rights, and anti-discrimination.
“The increasing significance of the LI team’s expertise is reinforcing its ability to make workers’ voices heard,” says Solidarity Center Ukraine Country Program Director Stanislaw Cieniuch.
Action points successfully advanced by LI to promote gender equality include: 1) Ratification of Convention 190, a new global International Labor Organization (ILO) treaty to prevent and address violence and harassment in the world of work that includes gender-based violence and harassment; 2) Amendment of the national labor code on equal pay and reduction of the gender pay gap; and 3) Development of national policies to shift the burden of proof in discrimination cases—including gender-based cases—from the employee to the employer.
LI’s lawyers also advanced action points for amending the country’s law on collective labor disputes, including ways to improve dispute resolution procedures and remove bureaucratic barriers preventing workers from exercising their right to strike.
“Labor is the defining part of life for every person,” reports LI. “[S]trong labor rights protections and rule of law are core safeguards to avoid catastrophic consequences for the people of Ukraine.”
Ukraine’s National Human Rights Strategy—first developed in cooperation with international organizations and civil society in 2015—is intended to develop a document that outlines citizens’ legal protections and to unite society around a common understanding of the value of human rights and freedoms to be protected equally and without discrimination.