State of emergency in Uukraine

February 23, 2022

The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine has decided to declare a state of emergency on the entire territory of Ukraine, except for Donetsk and Luhansk Regions, as there is a separate legal regime in place in connection with hostilities. It is currently declared for 30 days, but it can be extended to 60. The relevant Presidential Decree has yet to be approved by the Verkhovna Rada. 

Why is it introduced? 

The state of emergency is declared to eliminate threats and deal with emergencies, including man-made and natural disasters, restore law and order, protect the constitutional order, and restore constitutional rights and freedoms. So remember: the state of emergency is not only about natural or man-made disasters, but also about terrorism, seizure of important facilities, threat to the security of citizens, etc. 

And what about our rights?

In the event of a state of emergency, the Constitution of Ukraine allows for the temporary restriction on certain human rights. The list of such rights is exhaustive and is defined in the Presidential Decree. The Constitution of Ukraine and the Law of Ukraine “On the Legal Regime of the State of Emergency” allow the temporary introduction of the following measures: 

The following rights may not be restricted

  • The right to life, dignity, personal inviolability;
  • The right to housing as such; 
  • The right to appeal to the authorities;
  • The right to marriage, equality of children;
  • The right to trial, damages, 
  • The right to professional legal assistance, the presumption of innocence, double jeopardy;
  • The right to refuse to testify against oneself and one’s relatives, etc. 

To sum up, in a state of emergency, the authorities have the right to prohibit mass gatherings and strikes, to use property and resources to prevent or eliminate the situation with subsequent compensation, to restrict movement within the country, etc. But no one can deprive you of your right to life, insult your honor and dignity, create obstacles in accessing the authorities or the courts, discriminate on any grounds, or deprive you of your housing.