Saturday, January 12, 2013

Bill of Rights: We are the people...

Our portal “American Clubs – Ukraine” continues publishing the essays, submitted to the Second Annual Student Essay Competition in support of Democracy in Ukraine, on the topic “Bill of Rights in the US: Democracy Lessons for Ukraine”.

We are the people and it is vitally important for us to feel secure. It is necessary to have a place to rest and feel free of any danger or facing any enemies. Everyone wish to feel secure while walking down the street or sitting in the bar or, perhaps, using public transport.


Our citizens are still in danger to get beaten and get into a real troubleswith the government of the state because they get together in order to protect their point of view. For example, when people in July of 2012 have gathered against the law of regional language in Cherkasy, Ukraine, they were persecuted by the “Berkut” troop[ ].

We are still in danger to get into trouble because we are defending our property and do not let anybody on our yard. Even though the right to protect our property is listed in our Criminal codex, sometimes people may be accused if they try to protect their own property. For example, the 88-year old man who had shot the robber in the chest was accused in improper using of the gun.[ ]

Let’s take a look at the latest news. On January, 7thof 2013[ ]the journalist who was trying to expose the information regarding our President and prime-minister found the “tipster” in his house and now this case has been transferred to the police for the further review. So how can we talk about the free speech and press?

It is typical for Ukraine to face difficulties with the free and speedy trial and to protect people’s civil rights. This is not only the problems on the lower level, but sometimes there are cases that violating the rights of our politicians and ministers. So, how can we talk about the democracy in Ukraine, when our major rights as residents of the state are violated? We are just on the way to democracy, because its institutes are not consolidated.

We should have taken a look at the Bill of Rights of the United States. This list of civil rights is consisted of only ten amendments. These amendments are called to protect citizens’ rights of:
1. Free Religion, Speech, Press, Assembly, Petition
2. Right to Bear Arms
3. Quartering of Troops
4. Search and Seizure
5. Grand Jury, Double Jeopardy, Self-Incrimination, Due Process
6. Criminal Prosecutions - Jury Trial, Rightto Confront and to Counsel
7. Common Law Suits - Jury Trial
8. Excess Bail or Fines, Cruel and Unusual Punishment
9. Non-Enumerated Rights
10. Rights Reserved to States [ ]

These rights are pretty simple, although they do not give any option to the government to contradict them and are protected by the Supreme Court.

In case our government would not contravene these main civil rights, our country would probably have had consolidated democracy and been respected by other countries and their unions.

We as citizens of Ukraine should do everything to protect our major rights:
• Assembly against any unrighteous laws that contradict our civil rights
• Participate in the political groups of interest and parties
• Volunteer and help our communities
• Vote every time and lead our country to prosperity and stability.


Author: Dmytro Nayda, Kyiv National University named after Taras Shevchenko

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Competition is held by the Center for Political Studies (Donetsk, Ukraine), jointly with the portal “American Clubs – Ukraine”, and the Kyiv Alumni Resource Center (ARC). General partner of the competition: American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii (Honolulu, USA). Partners of the competition: Institute of Professional Lobbying and Advocacy (IPLA) and Donetsk Regional Association of International Researchers (DAIR). More detailed information about the competition is available here.