15.12.2003 | Maya Kriukova, Kharkov

The seminar „Monitoring and protection of the freedom of the press and other human rights and freedoms in Ukraine“ was hold in Kharkov


The seminar was conducted on 29 March - 2 April by the Kharkov group for human rights protection with the support of the USA Embassy in Ukraine.

90 participants of the seminar arrived in Kharkov. They represented 83 human rights protecting organizations; therefore, the topic of the seminar was interesting to everybody.

The participants actively discussed the opening lecture „Introduction to the conception of human rights“ (Basic terms and concepts. Classification of human rights. Three generations of human rights. Existing contradictions) delivered by Roman Romanov and the report by the KhG head E. Zakharov „What human rights protection is?“ (Mechanisms of the protection. Constitutional protection. Court protection. International protection. Protection of human rights by non-governmental non-profit organizations. conducting actions and campaigns. Cooperation of non-governmental organizations). Many questions were also put to Ludmila Klochko, who told about the work of public reception offices of human rights protecting organizations. The matter is that every member of public organizations comes across the problems of the reception of citizens in his everyday work. So, the lecture on this topic was very urgent, especially because it made clear many questions that arise in the course of work of the reception offices.

The participants of the training were divided into four groups depending on the problems, with which this or that organization deals. It should be mentioned that the seminar gathered the representatives of different public organizations, which work with different layers of population, from the handicapped to businessmen. Representatives of TV and radio companies of Simferopol, Ternopil, Kharkov, journalists of newspapers and magazines from Kalush, Odessa, Chernigiv, Zhytomir, Nikolayev and Lviv also took part in the seminar.

Thus, the topics for every group very different: „Improvement of the access to justice“ moderated by Roman Romanov; „Conducting the campaigns for protecting the freedom of speech and for improving the access to governmental information“ moderated by Evhen Zakharov; „Conducting the campaigns against torture and cruel treatment (torture and cruel treatment during the detention, arrest and preliminary investigation; upkeep conditions in penitentiaries; torture and cruel treatment in the army)“ moderated by Arkadiy Bushchenko and Ludmila Klochko. In this way, all participants of the seminar had the opportunity to solve the questions, which concerned their organizations, most effectively.

Yet, there was one question that was interesting to everybody. This was the question of monitoring the human rights. For the conduction of this training the organizers invited the trainers from the Helsinki fund of human rights, who are, at the same time, the authors of the manual „Monitoring of human rights“ published in Warsaw, Poland. This manual was compiled as a result of efforts of the great collective of experts.

Representatives of Poland Jerzy Swaton, Marcena Rafalska, Wogna Hmelewska and Slawomir Cybulski are the experienced trainers, who conducted the training on the very high level. The training was appreciated by the participants: „Monitoring of human rights“ obtained the 10.5 balls out of 12 possible; the monitoring „Step by step“ – 10.5; „Analysis of legislation“ – 11.02; „Techniques of collecting information“ – 11.06; „Data processing and the assessment of the collected information“ – 11.01; „Logic of monitoring“ – 11.21.

The training was carried out in groups, and the groups were divided into separate commands. Thus, everyone took the active part in the work. After this the results of every command were discussed, drawbacks were revealed, interesting ideas of the command were noted. These discussions were very vivid and every participant expressed his own point of view on the subject. This part of the program was extremely interesting for all, who practice human rights protection, and, it seems, it was the reason of the high rating of the trainings.

All in all, this seminar was very useful also because it gave the opportunity to the participants to find partners in regional human rights protecting organizations for the fulfillment of grant projects. Yet, the problems of regions are, most often, the all-Ukrainian problems, and these problems demand the development of new strategies of work and cooperation of various non-governmental organizations.

The participants of the seminar lived in a central hotel of Kharkov, so they had the opportunity of communicate with each other during their free time and to see the sights and architecture of the city.

All participants obtained a great number of literature and informational materials, which are extremely necessary for the work of their organizations. These were the editions of the Kharkov group for human rights protection and the materials on monitoring, which were handed to each one by the experts-trainers.

The opening address at the beginning of the seminar was delivered by Janet Demirey, the councilor of the department of the press, education and culture at the USA Embassy in Ukraine, and Alla Mukshimenko, a representative of the secretariat of the ombudsperson.

In my opinion, the trainings on the conduction of monitoring appeared to be the most interesting part of the seminar. I got much new information. I hope that this new knowledge will help us to conduct the research (monitoring) on the higher professional level, and this will positively affect those, to whom we render aid. Communication with the people having the great experience of human rights protection activities inspired me for the further, more active, work.

I was especially expressed by the acquaintance with Irina Sarancha, the head of the Vinnitsa public organization for social protection „Parostok“. This small, fragile, handicapped woman helps to other handicapped to struggle for rich and active life. The bright example of her activities is the participation in the election of the handicapped in the wheelchairs, when the whole town saw them for the first time.

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