The 4th school of human rights in Kharkov

Ludmila Klochko, Kharkov

On 4–7December 2003 the Kharkov group for human rights protection conducted the 4th school of human rights. This time the school was international: representatives of human rights protecting organizations from both Ukraine and Russia took part in it. We are grateful to the International «Memorial», which organized the participation of human rights protection activists from Russia. We do not know yet, whether the experiment was successful, but it took place. 42 participants, among them 8 Russian human rights protectors and 34 representatives of Ukrainian NGOs spent together 4 days. They communicated with each other, debated and learned. 16 regions of Ukraine, from the Transcarpathian region to the Lugansk oblast, Kyiv NGOs and public organizations from small towns and settlements were represented at the school. Russian representatives came from Krasnodar, Novorossiysk, Kazan, Saratov, Mias (the Cheliabinsk oblast), Ukhta (the Komi Republic), Vladimir and Lipetsk. The youngest participant of the school was born in 1983, the oldest — in 1954. The overwhelming majority of the participants have the juridical education or are attending law schools.

The difficulties arose as early as during the first contacts of the participants: it appeared that not all Ukrainians knew the Russian language properly: they somehow understood Russian, but could not express their ideas. Later the way out was found: when somebody started to speak Ukrainian, other participants interpreted the speeches to their Russian colleagues.

As it always happens at the conferences organized by the KhG, the participants got the great number of literature, which, we hope, will be useful not only to them, but also to their colleagues working in NGOs.

So, how the participants assessed the school? According to the data of the assessment questionnaires, which were filled out during the school, the highest mark (by the12-points scale) was given to the lectures delivered by Vsevolod Rechitskiy: «The Constitution of Ukraine in the modern context» and «Availability of information as a universal demand». The lowest mark was given to the living conditions in the hotel «Kharkov». As always, the participants highly appreciated the entire block (lectures and training) concerning the financing and management of NGOs. The total mark was also high — 11.375.

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