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Human Rights Passportisation of Regions. UHHRU and the Office of the Ombudsman have presented the joint initiative

On December 23, 2016, the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union and the Office of the Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights presented the annual results of the joint project concerning development and practical implementation of the system of measurements of the human rights index locally.

Valeriia Lutkovska, the Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, Arkadiy Bushchenko, Executive Director of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, Bohdan Kryklyvenko, Head of the Office of the Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, Oleh Martynenko, Head of the Analytical Direction of UHHRU, Andrii Halai, Project Coordinator of UHHRU, Alina Kobenko, an Assistant of UHHRU Educational Programs, Larysa Boiuk, Chief Specialist of the Department on the Implementation of the National Preventive Mechanism of the Office of the Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights and Taras Shcherbatiuk, the coordinator of the UHHRU public reception in Cherkasy Oblast, attended the event.

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The project was built on the international  Human Rights Indicators and is a unified mechanism to evaluate the effectiveness of local authorities in ensuring the rights and needs of the community.

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The aim of the initiative is to assess the human rights situation within the competence of local self-governments in some regions and administrative units at various levels. A kind of human rights “passport” should be the basis for further steps in the field of training of civil servants and a particular control of the local authorities by the local community.

The working group composed of representatives of UHHRU and the Office of the Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights worked on the development of the measurement system. At the stage of monitoring missions, experts from other civil society organizations were involved. During the project, Kharkiv, Zaporizhia, Chernivtsi, Voznesensk (Mykolaiv Oblast), Kovel (Volyn Oblast) and Uman (Cherkasy Oblast) were monitored.

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A fundamentally new mechanism in the field of public control over the functioning of the local self-governments allows to evaluate their activities in the field of human rights by a flexible system of indicators in the following areas:  torture and ill-treatment prevention; socio-economic rights; children’s rights, non-discrimination and gender equality; access to public information and personal data protection; protection of the rights of internally displaced persons and military.

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Under the project, the 5-day pilot training of community activists on monitoring instruments was conducted. In the result, a number of training participants organized independent human rights monitoring in their towns, including in Uzhhorod and in several cities of Cherkasy Oblast.

During the work of the monitoring missions in regions, positive cases and violations of human rights of wards in places of captivity were identified. Among them, they identified the lack of specialists-physicians and psychiatrists in institutions of social protection, inappropriate use of funds and noт-normative use of physical limitations in mental institutions.

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During the presentation, the example of passportisation of Cherkasy Oblast was presented. The experts analyzed the actions of the self-governments of three towns in the region. It turned out that the local self-governments were not prepared for the monitoring in the initial stages , because of the fear of finding flaws in their work. Only additional explanations have provided requested information.

As the results of the Human Rights Passportisation of Regions project, the Commissioner will continue to monitor human rights based on the Ombudsman Plus system, where “plus” means the civil society.

In the near future, the initiative will develop by improving the tools and system of the monitoring and visual presentation of its results; interoperability and monitoring participants and expansion of monitoring visits and responding to their results. UHHRU also provides for strengthening of public education factors of monitors and public discussion of the process.

Andrii Halai, the Project Co-ordinator, can clarify issues concerning the Human Rights Passportisation of Regions project: 0667442336, andrii.halai@helsinki.org.ua

The Human Rights Passportisation of Regions initiative is being implemented under:

The Human Rights in Action Project, which is implemented by UHHRU thanks to the generous support of the American people through the US Agency for International Development (USAID);

The Project on Institution Building of UHHRU funded by the Embassy of Sweden in Ukraine;

The Human Rights First Project, implemented by UHHRU and funded by Global Affairs Canada.

The American people, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), have provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for 50 years. In Ukraine, USAID’s assistance focuses on three areas: Health and Social Transition, Economic Growth and Democracy and Governance. USAID has provided 1.8 bln technical and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine since 1992.

For additional information about USAID programs in Ukraine, please visit our website: http://ukraine.usaid.gov or our Facebook page athttps://www.facebook.com/USAIDUkraine.

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