Saturday, January 5, 2013

Bill of Rights: More than 20 years have already passed...

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”.

More than 20 years have already passed since Ukraine had got its independence, but everyone now has a list of questions. What kind of democracy has Ukraine? Is Ukrainian mentality suitable for combination with democratic principles? Who should become an example for us in this direction?

Certainly, USA could be as the first example for our country. However, we need to stop taking lessons in democracy and try to become a model for others. There are no doubts that the U.S. have succeeded more than other countries in building of democratic society, where the human rights are not just a phrase.

It is impossible to deny the importance of the Bill of Rights to the U.S., but, nevertheless, it cannot serve as an ideal for the Ukraine. This is not due to differences in values. I sure that they are similar in both countries. The main reason is historical differences in formation of our nations. For the U.S., the process of state establishing came through hard struggle for independence. For Ukrainians, attempts to protect their independence with arms ended tragically, but at the same time, our country had acquired national heroes. Our countries were faced with different spirits of the time.

In this moment Second amendment, and partly Fifth and Sixth amendments are not acceptable for Ukraine because of domestic affairs and they may lead to the opposite results. Free carrying of weapons in our society today will entail tragic consequences. Ukrainians, unfortunately, do not have such level of cultural, religious and personal tolerance for each other as American society has. But we can learn from USA how to strengthen the principles of equality of people regardless of their religion, creed and color, as well as the principle of tolerance in our society.

Jury is a matter of bitter dispute in juridical academia. Such kind of justice cannot be called undemocratic, but in the current Ukrainian judicial system it can lead to corruption, threats and intimidation to jury, and in consequence, we will get country with a lot of wrongfully convicted defendants. All other amendments, perhaps in a slightly modified form, found their place in Constitution of Ukraine.

Ukraine has though not political, but civil will to build a democratic state. Ukrainians aspire to live in a country where you can freely develop as individuals; we strive for a society that has no place for discrimination, racism and violence. We have a lot of NGO’s, unions of Ukrainian youth people that deals with such problems and issues.

The time will show the possibility of Ukraine to become «the land of the free, and the home of the brave». In my opinion, cooperation with most experienced in such matters countries will help Ukraine to stay on the right way.

Author: Sergiy Ishinov, Donetsk National University

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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.