On November 18 – 19, the VI Open Debate Tournament on human rights was held in the Human Rights Educational House. Teams of legal clinics participated the Tournament, which this year was held at the time of the 40th anniversary of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group, the first human rights movement in Ukraine.
The Debate Tournament was attended by eight teams of legal clinics at universities in Ukraine, including: a team of the legal clinic of the National University “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy”, a team of the legal clinic of the Ivano-Frankivsk University of Law named after King Danylo Halytskyi, a team of the legal clinic “Adiutorium” of Chernihiv National Technological University, a team of the legal clinic “Femida” of the Donetsk State University of Management (the Mariupol-city), a team of the legal clinic of the National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine, and a team of the legal clinic of the Precarpathian National University named after V. Stefanik.
The team of the legal clinic “Liberta” of the Ternopil National Economic University has won; the team of the legal clinic “Legal Aid” of the Sumy branch of the Kharkiv National University of Internal Affairs was second. These two teams – finalists of the Tournament had a chance to take part in an unusual format of the event – the Hard Talk on acute and socially important topics with Arkadiy Bushchenko, Executive Director of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union. The theme of the discussion was “The right to arms. Free possession of arms is a reduction of the state monopoly on violence, or violence spread to all sections of the population.”
The participants were able to ask uncomfortable, even private questions, about thoughts and visions concerning such difficult issues as the legalization of firearms and impact on society, the crime rate in the country, the state’s ability to carry out its duties, and many other conflicting issues.
The participants expressed gratitude to the organizers for the possibility of such a conversation with Arkadiy Bushchenko They said that it is a very respectable man, who surprised them by his openness and honesty, “We were ready to resistance or change of the topic of the discussion and distortion, instead, he professionally, honestly and peacefully expressed his opinions and positions. I’m impressed!” said one of the finalists of the Tournament.
The Tournament is an event of the Ukraine-wide educational program “We Understand Human Rights” and was held as part of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Project “Responding to Human Rights Violations and Empowering Citizens and Human Rights Defenders in Ukraine” (Human Rights in Action program), which is implemented by the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union.
The American people, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), have provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for nearly 50 years. In Ukraine, USAID provides assistance in areas such as economic development, democracy and governance, health and social sector. Since 1992, the US Agency for International Development has provided Ukraine with technical and humanitarian assistance worth 1.8 billion US dollars.