“Ukrainian Context” – documentary film festival on human rights soon to open in Chernihiv
From 26 to 29 October in the Shors Cinema Chernihiv residents will have the chance to see the documentaries on human rights first presented in Kyiv in May of this year as the Third Human Rights Documentary Film Festival, “Ukrainian Context”.
The Festivals purpose is to draw public attention to the issue of human rights constantly violated in Ukraine. Viktoria Onyshchenko, representing the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union which initiated these festivals attended the press conference held on 6 October in the Chernihiv Reform Press Club, She joined local human rights activists – Viktor Tarasov from the Chernihiv Civic Committee for the Protection of Human Rights and Serhiy Burov and Vladislava But from the civic organization MART, who spoke about the coming festival and pointed out issues regarding human rights in the Chernihiv region.
“Ukrainian Context”, since its debut on 21 May, has been travelling Ukraine and by the end of this year will have been shown in Lviv, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Odessa, Mykolayiv, Kharkiv, Sumy and Simferopol.
Viktoria Onyshchenko noted that Ukrainian viewers would have the opportunity to see films which have received international acclaim. Works presented had received awards at festivals in Germany, Italy, France and were also nominated for “Oscars”.
Overall the festival will present 72 films from 22 different countries.
In Chernihiv the festival will last four days. During the first two days school and institute students will have an opportunity to see the films. They will not only watch the films, but will also discuss the issues raised during debate sessions with well-known public figures, journalists and human rights activists. The third and fourth days are open to all, Chernihiv residents will be able to meet the festival producer Gennady Kofman, the film director Mykhailo Tkachuk and other interesting people.
The existence of human rights abuse in the Chernihiv region is demonstrated by the results of monitoring carried out by civic organizations within the “Chernihiv Monitoring Committee on Defending Human Rights”.
The work of the monitoring committee is carried out through:
- constant work of public reception centres (providing free legal assistance to members of the public;
- sending formal requests for information to the authorities;
- systematically publishing information about the human rights situation in the area;
- lodging complaints against normative legal acts of various authorities which infringe human rights;
- drawing up recommendations to the authorities on ways of improving the human rights situation;
- carrying out educational, information and public actions aimed at raising the level of legal awareness among the public and overcoming problems connected with human rights abuse in the region.
The work of the monitoring committee is part of the project “Monitoring of observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the Chernihiv region” and is supported by the Democracy Fund of the U.S. Embassy, Kyiv.
Viktor Tarasov (Chernihiv Civic Committee for the Protection of Human Rights) and Serhiy Burov (MART) reported that their work had shown that the least open authorities were the prosecutors office, SBU (the Security Service), the department of healthcare of the Chernihiv Regional State Administration. On the other hand, the best at complying with legislation on access to information were offices of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the department on religious affairs of the Chernihiv RSA and the regional department of education and science.
In January 2007 the monitoring committee will prepare a report on the results of their work, and it will be included in the national report of human rights organizations “Human rights in Ukraine – 2006”.
Members of the public turning to the public reception centres most often encounter problems related to their socio-economic rights. These involve labour rights, the right to social aid, to peacefully enjoy their positions, as well as the right to a fair trial. Complaints are most often directed at the work of the prosecutors office, the police and municipal services. Many appeals allege infringements by employers of labour legislation. There is also a lot of concern about the building of childrens play areas in particular districts of Chernihiv.
Those participating in the press conference called on citizens to not delay if their rights are being infringed. They advise them to approach human rights organizations and to stand up for their rights. In their opinion, the authorities need to be trained with regard to observing human rights.
They also hoped that they could count on the media to highlight successful cases where human rights have been upheld.