by Douglas B. Stevenson, Director, Center for Seafarers’ Rights
I recently met with Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights Valeriya Lutkovska at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The Commissioner for Human Rights is a constitutional ombudsman elected by the Ukrainian Parliament and independent from all branches of state authority, including the Parliament. As such, Commissioner Lutkovska, enjoys high status and authority within Ukraine to respond to complaints of human rights violations.
During Mrs. Lutkovska’s working visit to the United Nations, she briefed members of the diplomatic corps on her office’s work, met with leaders of various United Nations institutions and gave an interview on UN radio. (A report of her visit to the UN can be found here.)
In our meeting, Mrs. Lutkovska and I discussed special problems that seafarers, including Ukrainian seafarers, encounter in their work, such as piracy, unfair criminal prosecutions and abandonment. I briefed her on the successful Memorandum of Understanding between the Center for Seafarers’ Rights and the Consul General of Ukraine in New York to work together on behalf of Ukrainian seafarers. We agreed to cooperate on providing assistance to Ukrainian seafarers and their families. We also agreed to work together to provide training of the International Labour Organization’s Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, including providing training on the Convention in Ukraine.