Ukrainian Ombudswoman Valeria Lutkovska took part in a roundtable conference in Kyiv on Thursday where she said she would pay attention to the rights of convicted women with children.
"This year we plan to present a special report in parliament and we intend to offer recommendations for amending the active laws and regulatory acts in order to improve the situation. Ukraine tries to abide by the principle of gender equality, but imprisonment is harder for women than men who are more adaptable - physically and psychologically - to prison conditions," Lutkovska said. Her representative for the rights of the child, non-discrimination, and gender equality Oxana Filipishyna said that nearly 7,000 women were inmates of Ukrainian penal colonies. "20% of convicted women have children aged under six," she said. She pointed to imperfect regulatory acts barring convicted women from childbirth allowances. According to Filipishyna, imprisoned women experience serious problems with maintaining their family ties. "We are also concerned about the fact that the guardians of children of convicted mothers demand to strip such mothers of parental rights while those women are limited in their rights to defense in court. They are not allowed to attend court hearings where they could prove their parental diligence before conviction. The number of such complaints is constantly growing," Filipishyna said.