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 LAW ON CITIZENS' ASSOCIATIONS

#2461-XII (2461-12), 06.16.92, VVR, 1992, #34, p. 505 )
( With changes introduced therein as per Laws of Ukraine
#1180-VI of March 19, 2009 )

 

The right of citizens to form associations is an inalienable human right set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and is guaranteed by the Constitution and other laws of Ukraine. The state assists with the development of citizens' political and public activities and creative initiatives, and provides equal conditions for citizens' associations.


I. General Provisions
Article 1. Citizens' Associations
A citizens' association is a voluntary public formation created on the principle of unity of interests, in order to jointly exercise civil rights and freedoms.
A citizens' association, regardless of the name (movement. Congress, association, fund/foundation, union, etc.) shall be recognized as a political party or a volunteer organisation under this Law.
This Law does not apply to religious and co-operative profit-making organisations and associations of citizens, as well as to commercial funds, local and regional self-government authorities (including councils and committees of microdistricts [neighbourhoods], blocks of flats, street, block, village and township committees), volunteer public bodies (people's druzhyna, comrades' courts, etc.), other citizens' associations that are formed and operate in keeping with legally established procedures.
The specifics of the activities of the trade unions are set forth in the Law of Ukraine on Trade Unions.
Article 2. Political Parties
A political party is a citizens' association whose members adhere to a certain national social development programme and whose principal objective is the working out of a national policy, setting up state authorities, local and regional self-government authorities, and being represented therein.
Article 3. Volunteer Organisations
A volunteer organisation is a citizens' association meant to satisfy and protect the membership's lawful social, economic, creative, age, ethnic-cultural, sports, and other common interests.
Article 4. Restrictions on the Formation and Operation of Citizens' Associations
Citizens' associations shall not be legalised and those already legalised shall be banned by a court of law if aimed at:
- forcefully changing the constitutional order and territorial integrity of Ukraine in any unlawful manner;
- undermining national security by acting for the benefit of any foreign countries;
- propagandising war, violence or cruelty, Nazism and neo-Nazism;
- fomenting ethnic and religious enmity;
- forming unlawful military units;
- restricting universally recognised human rights.
Political parties shall be prohibited to organise and operate, whose leadership or structural subdivisions are outside Ukraine, as shall be subdivisions of political parties within executive or judicial authorities, the Armed Forces and State boundary Ukraine Service, the State special transportation service of Ukrtaine, the State Special Communication and Information Protection Service of Ukraine, at state enterprises, institutions, and organisations, and at state-run educational establishments.
( Section 2 of this Article 4 amended as per Laws #2171-III (2171-14) of December 21, 2000, #662-IV (662-15) of April 03, 2003, #3428-IV of February 9, 2006, #1180-VI of March 19, 2009 )
Article 5. Laws on Citizens' Associations
Citizens' associations are governed by the Constitution of Ukraine, this Law, and legislative acts inured thereunder.
II. Principles of Operation and Status of Citizens' Associations
Article 6. Principles of Formation and Operation
Citizens' associations are formed and operate on the principles of voluntary accession and equality of all members, self-government, legality, and openness. Such organisations are free to choose fields of endeavour [orientations].
Restrictions on citizens' associations shall be imposed only by the Constitution (888-09) and [other] laws of Ukraine.
All principal matters relating to citizens' associations shall be decided by meetings of their members or [duly authorised] representatives thereof.
Citizens' associations shall regularly publish their main documents, lists of executives, data re finance sources and expenses.
Article 7. Ban on Limitations of Civil Rights and Freedoms in Conjunction with Membership or Non-membership of Citizens' Associations
No-one can be forced to join any citizen's association. Membership or non-membership thereof shall not warrant any restrictions on civil rights and freedoms or on any benefits and privileges granted by the state.
No-one shall require references to membership of any citizens' associations in any official documents, except in cases envisaged by the law.
A persons shall not be denied membership of a political party due to that person's sex or ethnic origin. Limitations on membership of political parties are levied on certain categories of citizens by the Constitution and [other] laws of Ukraine.
Executives of citizens' associations shall be subject to the laws on labour, social security, and social insurance.
Article 8. The State and Citizens' Associations
The state secures the implementation of the rights and lawful interests of citizens' associations legalized in keeping with the procedures set forth in this Law.
State authorities and officials thereof shall not interfere in the affairs of citizens' associations, just as citizens' associations shall not interfere into the affairs of state authorities and other citizens' associations, except in cases envisaged by the law.
The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine establishes tax concessions with regard to incomes and certain lines of business or other commercial activities of citizens' associations, their institutions, organisations, enterprises, as well as the maximum amounts of separate and overall annual donations to political parties, and adopts a list of all-Ukraine volunteer organisations financially aided by the state.
Article 9. Status of Citizens' Associations
Citizens' associations are formed and operate, having the all-Ukraine, local, and international status.
The all-Ukraine status extends to citizens' associations operating throughout Ukraine and having branches/offices in most its regions.
The local status embraces citizens' associations operating within separate administrative-territorial units [political units] or regions. Each such association independently determines the boundaries of the area in which it operates.
A citizens' association has the international status when operating in Ukraine and in at least one other country.
Political parties are formed and operate in Ukraine only with the all-Ukraine status.
Article 10. Unions of Citizens' Associations
Citizens' associations shall have a right to form or join voluntary unions (alliances, etc.), establish blocs and coalitions, make co-operation and mutual assistance agreements.
Unions of citizens' associations shall be formed and legalized, and shall operate and be liquidated in keeping with this Law.
III. Procedures of the Formation and Termination of Citizens' Associations
Article 11. Founders of Citizens' Associations
Political parties are formed at the initiative of Ukrainian citizens upon reaching 18 years of age, without any legal capacity limitations and not being inmates of correctional institutions.
Volunteer organisations may be founded by citizens of Ukraine, foreigners, and stateless persons upon reaching 18 years of age; youth and children's organisations may be founded by minors upon reaching 15 years of age.
Citizens' associations are formed as resolved by a constituent convention (conference) or by a general meeting.
Citizens' associations are founders of unions of citizens' associations.
Article 12. Membership of Citizens' Associations
Only citizens of Ukraine can be members of political parties, upon reaching 18 years of age.
Members of volunteer organisations (except youth and children's ones) can be minors reaching 14 years of age. The age of members of youth and children's organisations is determined by their statutes within the limits established by the laws of Ukraine.
( Section 2 of this Article 12 with changes introduced as per Law #655-XIV (655-14) of May 13, 1999 )
Volunteer organisations may not have a fixed individual membership.
Collective members may participate in volunteer organisations, in cases envisaged by their statutes.
Article 12-1. Name of a Citizens' Association
The name of a citizens' association is determined by the constituent convention (conference) or by a general meeting thereof.
The name of a citizens' association must consist of two parts: general and individual. The general name (party, movement, congress, union, association, fund, foundation, society, etc.) may be the same with various citizens' associations. The individual name of a citizens' association is compulsory and must be essentially different from the individual names of duly registered citizens' associations having the same general name.
A citizens' association may have an acronym in addition to its full name, which acronym is entered in the documents of association (resolution of the constituent body, statute, regulations).
Duly registered, a citizens' association has the exclusive right to its name. Natural persons and legal entities other than members shall not use this name other then in conjunction with that association and its activities.
( The Law amended with Article 12-1 as per Law 2651-III (2651-III) of November 07, 2001 )
Article 13. Basic Instruments of Citizens' Associations
Citizens' associations operate on the strength of their statutes or regulations [bylaws] (hereinafter referred to as statutory documents).
The statutory document of a citizens' association must contain:
(1) name of the citizens' association (name in full and acronym as per Section 3, Article 12-1 hereof), its status, and legal address;
(2) objectives and tasks of the citizens' association;
(3) membership and withdrawal terms and conditions;
(4) members' (participants') rights and obligations;
(5) procedures of formation and operation of the citizens' association's executive bodies and those of local branches/offices, and their [respective] jurisdiction;
(6) finance sources and procedures expenditures and management of other property of the citizens' association; reporting, accounting, business procedures required for the fulfilment of the statutory tasks;
(7) procedures of changing and amending the statutory document;
(8) termination procedures and settlement of property issues in conjunction with liquidation.
The statutory document may contain other clauses relating to the specifics of the formation and operation of a given citizens' association.
The statute of a citizens' association shall not contradict the Ukrainian legislation.
( Article 13 restated as per Law #2651-III (2651-14) of November 07, 2001 )
Article 14. Legalisation of Citizens' Associations
Legalisation (official recognition) of citizens' associations shall be compulsory, effected by their registration or notification of their establishment. Any activities of citizens' associations that are not legalised or ordered dissolved by a court of law shall be illegal.
( Section 1 of this Article 14 restated as per Law #3582-12, of November 11, 1993 )
When registered, a citizens' association shall acquire the legal entity status.
Political parties and international volunteer organisations are subject to compulsory registration with the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine.
A volunteer organisation is legalised by the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine or by local executive authorities, executive committees of village, township, and city councils of people's deputies, as the case may be.
If a citizens' association operates in two or more political units, it is legalised by the pertinent superior authority.
Local branches/offices of duly registered all-Ukraine and international citizens' associations are subject to compulsory registration with local executive authorities, executive committees of village, township, and city councils of people's deputies [as the case may be], provided such registration is set forth in the statutory documents.
The legalising authority shall make the fact of legalisation of a citizens' association public knowledge through the media.
( Article 14 amended with Part 7 as per Law #3582-12 of November 11, 1993 )
Article 15. Registration of Citizens' Associations
In order to have a citizens' association registered, its founders submit an application. An application requesting registration of a political party shall be signed by at least one thousand enfranchised citizens of Ukraine.
Enclosed with the application are the statute (regulations) or minutes of the constituent convention (conference) or a general meeting, data re central executive bodies as per statute, local branches/offices, registration fee receipts, except when a volunteer organisation is exempted from the registration fee under the laws of Ukraine. A political party also submits programme documents.
( Part 2 of this Article 15 with changes introduced as per Law #655-XIV (655-14) of May 13, 1999 )
An application for the registration of a local public organisation shall be reviewed within 3 days upon the receipt of documents. The decision to register or deny the registration shall be communicated to the applicant in writing not later than on the next working day of the decision date.
( Part 3 of Article 15 in the wording of Law of Ukraine #2852-IV of September 8, 2005 )
An application for the registration of a national and international public organisation shall be reviewed within one month. The decision to register or deny the registration shall be communicated to the applicant in writing within 10 days.
( The Part added to Article 15 according to Law of Ukraine #2852-IV of September 8, 2005 )
Representatives of the citizens' association may be present during deliberations on the application.
Changes in charter documents of the registered associations of individuals shall be subject to the obligatory registration.
( Part 5 of Article 15 in the wording of Law of Ukraine #2424-IV of February 4, 2005 )( Part 6 of Article 15 has been deleted according to Law of Ukraine #2424-IV of February 4, 2005 )
Authorities registering citizens' associations shall keep registers of those associations.
The amount of the registration fee is determined by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.
Article 16. Denial of Registration
A citizens' association can be denied registration if its name, statutory or other documents submitted for registration are found at variance with any of the laws of Ukraine.
( Section 1 of this Article 16 restated as per Law #2651-III (2651-14) of November 07, 2001 )
The enactment denying registration must explain the reasons for the denial. This enactment may be appealed to a court of law.
The registration authority makes public its decision to deny registration through the media.
( Article 15 amended with Section 3 as per Law #3582-12 of November 11, 1993 )
Article 17. Notification of Establishment
Volunteer organisations and their unions may legalise their establishment by serving notices to the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, local executive authorities, executive committees of village, township and city councils of people's deputies [as the case may be].
Article 18. Symbolism of Citizens' Association
Citizens' associations may use their own symbolism [logos].
The latter is adopted as per statute.
Logos of political parties shall not incorporate national or religious symbols.
Logos of citizens' associations are subject to state registration in keeping with procedures adopted by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.
Article 19. Termination of Citizens' Associations
A citizens' association may be terminated by reorganisation or liquidation (voluntary or compulsory dissolution).
A citizens' association is reorganised pursuant to its statute. A newly established citizens' association is registered in keeping with procedures set forth in this Law.
A citizens' association is liquidated pursuant to its statute or as ruled by a court of law.
IV. Rights of Citizens' Associations, Business and other Commercial Activities
Article 20. Rights of Registered Citizens' Association
In order to reach set targets and fulfil statutory tasks, duly registered citizens' associations have a right to:
- participate in civil law relationships, acquire property and non-property rights;
- represent and defend their lawful interests and those of their members (participants) at state and public bodies;
- take part in political activities, organise mass events (meetings, rallies, demonstrations, etc.);
- provide ideological, organising, and material support to other citizens' associations, and assist with their formation;
- set up institutions and organisations;
- receive from state authorities, administrative agencies, local self-government authorities any such information as may be required for the fulfilment of their objectives and tasks;
- submit proposals to state authorities and administrative agencies;
- disseminate information and propagate their ideas and objectives;
- set up media;
- take part in developing draft decisions on gender equality issues that are adopted by executive agencies and local self-government bodies;
( Part 1 of Article 20 has been amended by adding Paragraph 11 according to Law of Ukraine #274-VI of April 15, 2008 )
- delegate their representatives to consultative and advisory agencies in charge of the provision of equal rights and opportunities for women and men that are established under executive agencies and local self-government bodies;
( Part 1 of Article 20 has been amended by adding Paragraph 12 according to Law of Ukraine #274-VI of April 15, 2008 )
- perform monitoring of the provision of equal rights and opportunities to women and men.
( Part 1 of Article 20 has been amended by adding Paragraph 13 according to Law of Ukraine #274-VI of April 15, 2008 )
Volunteer organisations have a right to set up enterprises required for the fulfilment of their statutory objectives.
Political parties, acting in keeping with legally established procedures, also have a right to:
- participate in the elaboration of the national policy;
- participate in the formation of state authorities and be represented there;
- have access to the state-run media during election campaigns.
Citizens' associations enjoy other rights envisaged by the laws of Ukraine.
Article 21. Property of Citizens' Association
Citizens' associations can have money and other property required for their statutory activities.
Citizens' association acquire [accrue] title to money and other property assigned by founders, members (participants) or the state, also in the form of admission and membership fees, donations by [individual] citizens, enterprises, and organisations, as well as title to property purchased at associations' own cost or in another manner not prohibited by law.
Political parties are also entitled to property resulting from the sales of social and political and other propaganda literature, products bearing their logos, and the holding of festivals, holidays, lectures, and other political events.
Volunteer organisations are further entitled to property and money resulting from business and other commercial activities of self- accounting institutions, organisations, and enterprises founded by them.
Money and other property of citizens' organisations, including those being liquidated, shall not be reallocated among their members and shall be used in fulfilling statutory tasks or for charitable purposes, or in cases envisaged by the law or as ruled by a court of law, transferred to the state budget.
Article 22. Restrictions on Money and Other Property Received by Political Parties and their Institutions and Organisations
Political parties, their institutions and organisations shall be prohibited to receive money and property, directly or indirectly, from:
- other countries, foreign and international organisations, individual foreigners and stateless persons;
- state authorities, state enterprises, institutions, and organisations, except in cases envisaged by the laws of Ukraine;
- enterprises under mixed ownership, provided the government or foreign interest exceeds 20%;
- unlegalised citizens' association;
- anonymous donators.
Political parties have no right to receive incomes from shares and other securities, and they are prohibited to open accounts with, and store valuables at, foreign banks.
Political parties shall publish their annual budgets.
Article 23. Implementation of the Right of Ownership
The right of ownership vested in citizens' associations is exercised by their higher statutory authorities (general meetings, conferences, conventions, etc.) in keeping with procedures established by the laws of Ukraine and set forth in their statutory documents.
Higher statutory authorities may delegate separate functions, in terms of property management, to bodies established by these authorities, offices/branches or to unions of citizens' associations.
Article 24. Business and Other Commercial Activities
In order to fulfil statutory tasks and objectives, duly registered citizens' associations may conduct the required business and other commercial activities by setting up self-accounting institutions and organisations having the legal entity status, and establish enterprises in keeping with legally established procedures.
Political parties, institutions and organisations established by them have no right to set up enterprises except the media, or to conduct business and other commercial activities, except when selling social-political and other propaganda literature, products bearing their logos, organising festivals, holidays, exhibitions, lectures, and other social and political events.
Citizens' associations and institutions and organisations established by them shall keep books and records, file statistical reports, get registered with bodies of the State Tax Administration, and make payments to the budgets in the amount and in keeping with procedures established by the [current] legislation.
V. Supervision and Control of Citizens' Associations. Responsibility for Breaches of the Law
Article 25. State Supervision and Control of Citizens' Associations
State control over citizens' associations shall be exercised by state authorities in keeping with procedures set forth in the laws of Ukraine.
Authorities legalising citizens' associations shall monitor their observance of the statutory requirements. Representatives of these authorities shall be entitled to attend the events organised by citizens' associations, request and receive the required documents and explanations.
The prosecutor's office shall monitor observance of the law by the citizens' associations.
Fiscal authorities and bodies of the State Tax Administration shall monitor finance sources, receipts, and tax payments by the citizens' associations.
Article 26. Fiscal Control Procedures
Citizens' associations submit declarations of incomes and expenses to fiscal authorities in keeping with established procedures.
The newspaper Holos Ukrainy, relying the said declarations, shall annually publish lists of persons donating to political parties in amounts exceeding that adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.
A special VR commission [committee], including representatives of all political parties in parliament, shall study their financial activities during the year and report its findings at a plenary meeting [session] of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.
Political parties found to have transgressed financial discipline shall be responsible under the law. Unlawful receipts shall be impounded as ruled by a court of law and transferred to the State Budget of Ukraine in keeping with legally established procedures.
( Section 4 of this Article 26 with changes introduced as per Law#642/97-VR of November 18, 1997 )
Article 27. Responsibility for Breaches of the Law
Officials of authorities legalising citizens' associations and private citizens found to have breached the legislation on citizens' associations shall be meted out disciplinary, civil law, administrative punishments and/or criminally prosecuted under the law.
Citizens' associations shall assume responsibility under this Law and other legislative acts of Ukraine.
The leadership of a citizens' association not legalised in keeping with legally established procedures or denied legalisation, or dissolved as resolved by a court of law but continuing to operate shall be held administratively responsible or criminally prosecuted, and the same shall apply to those taking part in the activities of such associations.
( Article 27 amended with Section 3 as per Law #3582-12 of November 11, 1993 )
Article 28. Types of Punishment
In retaliation for breaches of the law, citizens' associations can be meted the following punishments:
- warning;
- fine;
- suspension of certain activities;
- suspension of all activities;
- coercive dissolution (liquidation).
Article 29. Warning
When found to have transgressed the law to an extent that does not necessarily entail other types of punishments under this Law, a given citizens' association is issued a warning in writing by the legalising authority.
Article 30. Fine
When found to have grossly or systematically [regularly/repeatedly] transgressed the law, and as submitted by the legalising authority or prosecutor, a given citizens' association can be levied a fine by a court of law.
Article 31. Suspension of Certain Activities of a Citizens' Association
In order to terminate unlawful activities on the part of a citizens' association and as submitted by the legalising authority or prosecutor, a court of law can suspend certain or all activities of that association for a term of up to three months.
Suspending certain activities may include a temporary ban on mass [public] events (meetings, rallies, demonstrations, etc.), publishing, banking transactions, operations involving tangible assets, etc.
If so requested by the authority that applied for such suspension, the court of law may prolong its term, provided it does not exceed six months in toto.
After eliminating the causes of such suspension, as requested by the citizens' association at issue, the court may allow to resume activities in full measure.
Article 32. Coercive Dissolution (Liquidation) of a Citizens' Association
As submitted by the legalising authority or prosecutor, a court of law may order a citizens' association dissolved (liquidated), specifically:
(1) in retaliation for actions envisaged by Article 4 hereof;
(2) in retaliation for repeated breaches or flagrant violations of Article 22 hereof;
(3) in retaliation for unlawful activities continued after levying sanctions set forth in this Law;
(4) in case the membership of a given citizens' association decreases so the association can no longer be recognised as such.
In the event of coercive dissolution, the court simultaneously determines to terminate the association's printed media.
( Article 32 amended with Section 2 as per Law #3582-12 of November 11, 1993 )
The registration authority informs the public, via the media, about such coercive dissolution (liquidation) within fifteen days from the date of the court ruling.
( Article 32 amended with Section 3 as per Law #3582-12 of November 11, 1993 )
A decision on the forced disbandment of national and international associations of individuals on the territory of Ukraine shall be made by a court.
( Section 4 in the wording of Law of Ukraine #762-IV (762-15) of May 15, 2003 )
VI. International Contacts of Citizens' Associations. International Citizens' Associations
Article 33. International Contacts of Citizens' Associations
Volunteer organisations and their unions, acting in keeping with their status, may set up or join international volunteer (nongovernmental) organisations, found international unions of citizens' associations, maintain direct international contacts and exchanges, sign pertinent agreements, and participate in events that do not contradict Ukraine's international commitments.
Political parties shall be entitled to found or join international unions [associations] whose statutes envisage the establishment of only advisory or coordinating central bodies.
Article 34. International Volunteer Organisations. Branches of International Volunteer Organisations
International volunteer organisations, branches, offices, representations, other structural subdivisions of foreign volunteer (nongovernmental) organisations in the territory of Ukraine shall operate in accordance with this Law and other legislative acts of Ukraine.
A legalised volunteer organisation, founding or participating in an international organisation, or otherwise extending its activities to another country, shall within a month submit the required documents for registration with the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine as an international organisation, unless otherwise provided by the laws of Ukraine.
( Part 2 of Article 34 with changes introduced as per Laws of Ukraine #655-XIV (655-14) of May 13, 1999, #2424-IV of February 4, 2005 )
The procedures of registration of branches/offices and other structural subdivisions of foreign volunteer organisations are adopted by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.

Leonid Kravchuk, President of Ukraine
City of Kyiv, June 16, 1992 #2460-XII