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Human rights education is always relevant!

Results of events of the Ukraine-wide educational program “We Understand Human Rights” that took place this summer.

“Summer for the Benefit!” – this was the secret motto of alumni of the Ukraine-wide educational program “We Understand Human Rights”. As always, a large number of applicants submitted their applications to the competition for supporting educational local events. During the third wave, more than twenty applications were submitted and three of them received funding.

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Experienced public figures, leaders and human rights activists from Kyiv, Chernihiv, Odesa, Kherson and Lviv learned about key new challenges and trends in the field of human rights, innovative tools and means of action, as part of the first Educational Human Rights Fest that was recently hosted by the Educational Human Rights House – Chernihiv. On July 26-28, the training “Human Rights for Advanced: Approaches to Human Rights Activism” was held within the festival. The trainers offered short lectures, simulation and role plays, and work in mini-groups in order to work out a model of civic and human rights activism based on encouraging the community to take responsibility for themselves: to form a dialogue for understanding and exchange of experience, to find effective tools to work in unstable environment that has been affected by the military conflict.

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The two following local educational events concerned children’s rights and the process of education. Thus, on 27 and 28 July, in Lviv, the “Patronus” initiative group got together representatives of different fields – deputy directors of general educational institutions of the city of Lviv, law teachers, social pedagogues, practical psychologists, employees of the service for children, the Center for Social Services for the Family, Children and Youth within the training “School as a Space for Countering Violence”. During two days, Nina Khoma and Mariana Hevko, trainers of the Ukraine-wide educational program “We Understand Human Rights”, together with participants, developed plans to introduce mechanisms for preventing and responding to ill-treatment of children in schools. All participants received an algorithm for protecting the child from ill-treatment, tools for working with students, teachers and parents on combating violence in the family and school environment. The participants exchanged ideas on the prevention of violence against the child and established contacts for further cooperation. As a result, part of the participants together with schoolchildren conducted the “Stop Violence!” flash mob. Through visual means, students demonstrated their vision of child abuse and the desire to counteract it.

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Instead, in Ivano-Frankivsk, the training session “Children’s Rights at School”, organized by the Prykarpattia NGO “Young Prosvita” on July 29 and 30, was attended mainly by teachers and administrators of the schools of the region. In the course of their work, they discussed human rights in the educational process in general. In addition, they managed to work with a regulatory framework that defines and governs the rules of interaction between schoolchildren, parents, teachers, and administration. They have determined who is the bearer of the rights and who is the bearer of the duties in exercising these rights. They learned how to prevent and resolve conflicts without violating the dignity and rights of everyone involved in this conflict. They worked out ways of cooperation for the formation of educational space with the provision of human rights, and also identified the participation of parents in the educational process. Most of the participants confirmed that they first became acquainted with the normative documents that regulate the educational process.

Along with local educational activities, the most active alumni of the Program also were able to undergo a two-week internship in successful NGOs in Ukraine. Oleh Khodakov and Olha Solonenko from the NGO “Vinnytsia Debate Club” spent the first five days from July 17 to July 21 at the NGO “Monitors of the National Preventive Mechanism “Ukraine without Torture” (Kyiv), and then another week, from July 24 to 28, at the NGO “Support Point” (Kyiv). Young people have succeeded in deepening their knowledge and skills in developing, implementing and evaluating monitoring projects in the field of human rights protection. They got acquainted with the practice of the national preventive mechanism, in particular, through monitoring visits to places of detention, analysis of the legal framework. They were also able to study approaches to monitoring in the field of discrimination, to get tools, means for their implementation, ways of visualization and dissemination. The activists had the opportunity to get acquainted with the index of corporate equality in more detail.

As the experience of active actions shows, education in the field of human rights does not cease to be popular. Activists and active citizens understand that education is an appropriate and effective instrument for the protection and promotion of human rights.

The events mentioned in this article were implemented by the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union in cooperation with local NGOs within the framework of the action plan of the Ukraine-wide educational program “We Understand Human Rights” supported by the USAID’s Human Rights in Action project.

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