Advocacy is a main part of work of each Fund or organization that defends human rights. As a rule, advocacy campaigns aim to protect, strengthen and defend the rights, freedoms and interests of certain vulnerable groups. It is a permanent process of protecting human (groups of people) rights in order to change public policy and administration, legislation and public opinion, social processes.
Advocacy is a powerful tool to promote new ideas and values, impact on a person or a group of persons, on which the solution depends. It may be both the official representatives of government agencies and the representatives of the business sector.
Advocacy campaigns, which were implemented by our Human Rights Fund “Progress” to protect the rights, freedoms and interests of the Roma minority in the Transcarpathian region are:
– “For abolishment of the legislation discrepancy in issuance of the personal documents to the representatives of the Roma national minority”. As part of this campaign a social advertisement was developed with aim to draw the attention of the citizens and especially of the authorities to the problems of lack of personal documents for members of the Roma minority.
– “To further the Roma self-government in Transcarpathian region“. The main goal of this campaign was to conduct joint training sessions and roundtables for Roma activists and representatives of the local authorities for constructive dialogue in order to create the self-government in the Roma communities.
– “Flash mob against monument to a “Roma-janitor” “. During the preliminary advocacy campaign, our team met with the large number of active Roma people. They initiated a flash mob against this monument, which humiliated their dignity.
– “Open Roma“: We open the Roma camps. We believe that all the problems and misunderstandings that arise in the Ukrainian communities are due to lack of the relevant information and stereotypical thinking. Through joint meetings, visiting the settlements, we opened the door to see who in fact the “Roma” are.
One of the varieties of advocacy is lobbying as a powerful influence on the legislative process. During the period of providing free legal aid to Roma minority, by lawyers of Human Rights Fund “Progress” were found significant flaws in the work of government, justice, immigration and registration services in terms of issuing personal documents for Roma. Also, there were found contradictions in the legal acts through that Roma are virtually deprived of access to basic services and participation in public and political life. To solve this problem we are holding the advocacy campaign to lobby the changes to legislation.
We believe that our advocacy campaigns will become an example of peaceful influence on authority, a bridge of understanding and the start of an open dialogue between the government and the community.