For two weeks in the early summer of 2019 the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union held a training on the protection of the rights of the LGBTQI community, organizations and initiatives that specialize in protecting LGBTQI rights and fighting discrimination.
18 June 2019
Training for activists
On June 4-5, 2019, UHHRU held the second of the planned training activities dedicated to security and information hygiene for representatives of human rights organizations and initiative groups that protect LGBTQI rights and fight discrimination.
Participants from all over Ukraine learned what the concept of physical security is about and how to correctly identify risks in their work.
Of particular interest the activists found the distinction between physical security in their personal and professional activities, as well as the proper way to determine risks, as it is sometimes difficult to keep one’s private life and work separate. This makes it necessary to take extra precautions and remain vigilant.
In regards to organizing public events, the participants identified the particulars of physical security for individuals, groups and organizations as well as worked out the correct course of action when receiving threats.
Special attention was paid to the algorithm of actions that activists should stick to if assaulted, as well as to self-defense basics.
In regards to information hygiene, the participants were asked to name the threats associated with exchanging information. After this exercise the coach spoke about messenger apps and explained the principle of VPN as well as its necessity.
In addition, much attention was given to data loss prevention as well as protection of data stored on various devices from unauthorized physical access.
Training for investigators of the National Police of Ukraine
On 6-7 June 2019 training was undertaken by investigators. Its main goal was to make law enforcement officers better at dealing with hate crimes, including those committed on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Over the course of two days law enforcement representatives discussed the importance of respecting human rights in their professional activities and determined the role and impact of stereotypes in their decision-making.
A considerable part of the training was also devoted to the issue of discrimination in society in general and one aimed at representatives of the LGBTQI community in particular: thus, an analysis of the relevant legal framework was conducted and the types of discrimination were determined.
The coaches discussed in extra detail the issues of homophobia and transphobia, speaking about the social and psychological origins of these as well as pointing out the peculiarities of communication with representatives of these vulnerable groups.
The event also touched on the investigators’ work with hate crimes through discussion of social and legislative factors, clarification of the specifics of such crimes when it comes to the LGBTQI community as well as the choice of the means of gathering evidence and establishing the motive in these cases.
Training for patrol police officers
The third training (13-14 June 2019) was for patrol police officers and was aimed at improving their effectiveness in responding to hate crimes and attacks on activists perpetrated during public events out of xenophobia.
The participants spent two days searching for answers to such questions as whether the police are required to abide by the principle of equality and how discrimination relates to their duties. In addition, the participants worked out the proper conduct of a patrol officer, taking into account the principle of non-discrimination in general (including discrimination of the LGBTQI) during peaceful gatherings and counter-gatherings, as well as the correct actions at the scene of a hate crime committed against members of the LGBTQI community and activists.
The second and third trainings included recommendations developed for law enforcement by the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union as part of a project aimed at combating the rising radicalism and populism, protecting the rights of the LGBTQI community, organizations and anti-discrimination groups by enhancing their organizational capacity through a series of training activities for law enforcement officers and better engagement of young people in the efforts on discussing and promoting human rights.
The activities were organized with the support of the Democracy Commission of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine. The views of the authors do not necessarily reflect the official position of the United States Government.