On March 24, the roundtable was held, scheduled for the International Day of Rights on the truth-telling about gross violations of human rights and dignity of victims.
The event was held by representatives of the public reception of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights in Sumy, the Regional Free Secondary Legal Aid Center (FSLA) in Sumy and the student legal clinic «PROGESTO», acting on the basis of the educational and scientific institution of the Sumy State University. In addition, local community leaders, students, representatives of internally displaced persons and journalists attended the roundtable.
Ukraine, like several other countries, is a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. This international document aims at non-repetition of the events of the World War II. Today human rights cover all aspects of every day life, washing away the clarity of the fundamental rules. This erosion makes it impossible for the state to ensure the appropriate rigts. So Sumy fighters for human rights gathered at a round table to voice the problems of human rights and freedoms at the local level and to work out ways to solve them.
During the event, human rights defenders of Sumy Region revealed the most striking examples of human rights violations, they faced; the public reception of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union (UHHRU) in Sumy presented their report on the activities of the past year.
As part of legal education direction, the Regional Free Secondary Legal Aid Center (FSLA) in Sumy region presented the principles of its activities and highlighted those “dark corners” of the law “On Free Civil Legal Aid”, about which the average Sumy citizens should know.
Nataliia Postavska, Head of the Support and Infrastructure Development Department, told about the system FSLA in Sumy: ‘Our structural units, local centers, and offices are actively working on interaction with local communities, in particular, local NGOs and local authorities. So today it is important to facilitate the authorities and the public in the development of these structures and utilize their potential to protect the rights of citizens.’
Oksana Ivantsova, Advisor to the Ministry of Social Policy on IDPs in Sumy Region, delivered a speech on the topic of sexual violence in the context of the military conflict in Ukraine: ‘National legislation and legal practice of criminal prosecution for committing sexual violence is limited; it does not fully meet international standards and practice. Victims of sexual violence often face inaction on the part of public authorities or armed groups, which control the territory. This is a very important issue that requires further attention of the society’.
Iryna Bilyk, Regional Coordinator of the Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, told about activities of the Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights in Sumy, actual problems which citizens face and the examination of government agencies.
In addition, during the roundtable, the book “Successful Stories of UHHRU Public Receptions,” the textbook “ABC Book of a Complainant” and other informational materials developed by UHHRU lawyers were presented. Successful stories, presented in the collection, describe mechanisms for addressing issues related to human rights violations.
According to Nataliia Yesina, an assistant coordinator of UHHRU public reception in Sumy, the textbook “ABC Book of a Complainant” is a simple and interesting legal instruction for people, who want to protect their rights. It contains tips on how to make an appeal, how to use the provisions of the Law of Ukraine “On Citizens’ Appeals”, shows a sample complaint to Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights. All these materials certainly will be useful to lawyers and those, who refer to them.
Prepared by the UHHRU public reception in Sumy
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