Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Bill Of Rights in USA: Ukraine begins from us

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”.

The Bill of Rights is the first ten amendements to the USA Constitution. It was created on September 25, 1789 . The main idea of this document was to reduce the influence of government to personal liberties. The Bill of Rights was filling up by different politicians during many years and now it is more perfectly completed.

Many countries in the world can use the Bill of Rights as a base for creating their own document which will protect human rights. First of all, it depends on country.

" Let me add that a bill of rights is what people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular, and what no just government would refuse, or rest on inference. "- Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 20 December 1787.

I think that human rights should be one of the main part of Constitution in every country in the world and help people to protect themselfes and their thoughts.

The Bill of Rights helped the USA to become more democratic state but can it help Ukraine? For example, the first amendment is about the freedom of speech, press, religion and these points are also mentioned in Ukrainian Constitution (freedom of speech - article #34, of press - article #10 , of religion - article #35). On my opinion, I can't say that in Ukraine these laws work. For example, the freedom of press. In 2010, Freedom House wrote about negative trend of Ukrainian press. On September 18, 2012, the law of libel was adopted which was negatively perceived by society. Also, many TV channels are financed by rich investors and TV programmes in those channels shows the opinion of its owners. Is it really the freedom of press? And the other amendments protect the human rights. But can the Bill of Rights really helps Ukraine to become more democratic state or at least to improve the situation of following the human rights? As for me, our country is very different from the USA and a big quantity of amendmends will be not effective for Ukraine . For example, the amendment #2 - Right to bear arms. I think it is not useful for the Ukrainians because it can impair the criminal situation in Ukraine. But even if we change something in Ukrainian Constitution, we will change only the laws but not a real situation in country.

To my mind, democratic state is a state in which the citizens not only follow the laws and those laws are democratic but also feel that they are independent and equal. That's why the main problem is that we don't want to change our society, our country, our mentality. First of all, we should understand that Ukraine begins from us and the level of democracy in our country also depends on us. A.Linkoln said:" Democracy - is a government for people and of the people ". If everybody or at least bigger part of Ukrainians follow the laws, respect each other, our country will develop and become more democratic. I want to live in country which is really democratic, where every citizen proud of it, but not in country which is democratic just 'on paper'. Let's change each other and our country will change!

Author: Olena Naumchyk, Lviv Educational Complex named after Vasyl Stus

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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.