The third school of human rights in Kharkiv
The human rights protection activities in Ukraine do not give too many reasons for joy. Yet, this is a New Year issue, so I want to impact some pleasant news to our readers.
On 7-10 December the Kharkiv Group for human rights protection held the third school of human rights for the leaders and activists of NGOs. This time the representatives of 47 organisations from 17 oblasts of Ukraine gathered in Kharkiv. The majority of the participants were from Kharkiv and the Kharkiv oblast, the second place was occupied by Lviv and the Lviv oblast – 7 persons, then Lugansk – 5 persons and Poltava – 4; all in all there were 50 participants. They were chosen out of 109 persons, who sent the acceptable applications. We regarded as unacceptable the applications sent by the persons not involved in human rights protection movement and the applications by the participants of the previous schools. We are sorry that, unfortunately, we could not invite all persons interested in the school, but it is difficult to teach large groups, and the budget of the project is very small.
Each participant received the package of documents and books that would help in the human rights protection work. The listeners attended the lectures "The conception of human rights", "What is human rights protection?", "Protection of human rights in court", "Applying the international tools of human rights protection", "The role of the European court of human rights" and "Protection of human rights by NGOs". Such topics as "Human rights protection and politics", "Human rights protecting NGOs and the power", "Cooperation of human rights protecting organisation", "Information exchange", "Organisation of joint actions and campaigns", "NGOs and mass media" discussed in groups evoked the keen interest. In general, such discussions in small groups are the most favorite form of education, both for the participants and organisers. The aim of the school was not only the opportunity to share the knowledge and experience, but also (and maybe it was the most important) the opportunity to communicate, to express own opinions and to listen to the ideas of other people, sometimes arguable, but always very interesting. The participants demonstrated the maturity of the opinions, deep knowledge, tolerance and ability to hold a civilized discussion on every topic. The greatest interest and the most active debates were aroused by the topics concerning the relations with the power and political parties. These topics are extremely exciting for human rights protectors and they must solve the problems connected with these relations very often. There are no ready recipes, so it is very important to formulate the main principles of such relations. During the discussion on organising the joint actions and campaigns the participants shared their experience in this sphere. Many of them have such experience, but the best accounts were delivered by Volodymir Berezin, the manager of the Artemovsk ecological center "Bakhmat". The participants recognized unanimously that the collaboration of NGOs is necessary, and the joint actions are the lions share of such collaboration.
The participants of the school also considered the problems of finances and management of NGOs. In the course of the training on compiling a project four very interesting works, jointly created by the participants, were presented.
Yet, the participants were not only fulfilling the schedule of the school, they communicated with each other and the representatives of Kharkiv NGOs beyond the schedule. The fruitful meeting was organised of parents of the incarcerated with Evhen Poltoratskiy, a deputy head of the parents committee "Poriatunok" ("Salvation") from Ivano-Frankivsk. Representatives of ecological NGOs lively discussed their problems, the meeting of the workers of public reception offices from various places was very interesting too. New contacts, agreements about cooperation, opportunity to exceed the limits of regional or professional interests – all this is very important for the development of any public activities.
The participants of the school decided to celebrate 10 December – the Day of human rights like a New Year. Why not, maybe this was the beginning of a new tradition?
The organisers of the school are satisfied with the results in spite of some troubles that are inevitable during any actions. We hope that the participants did not notice these troubles, or, if they did, we hope that they will excuse us. The certificates about the participation have been already sent by post, as well as the literature ordered by the participants.